By CBSBoston.com Staff

BOSTON (CBS) — With free agency mostly settled and draft plans coming into shape for the Patriots, some ominous news has come about regarding the team’s second-longest-tenured player.

It is “doubtful” that Julian Edelman will be able to play a full season in 2021, according to the Boston Herald’s Karen Guregian.

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“According to a source familiar with Edelman’s situation, it’s doubtful he will be able to play the entire 2021 season. The knee has already hampered him for the better part of two years,” Guregian wrote.

Edelman, who will turn 35 years old in May, played in just six games last season before undergoing knee surgery. He tried to get back on the field before the end of the season, participating in some practice sessions, but never did return to game action.

He set a single-game career high with 179 receiving yards in Week 2’s loss in Seattle, but he averaged just 27.2 receiving yards in his other five games played.

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Edelman played all 16 games and the Patriots’ postseaosn contest in 2019, hauling in 100 passes for 1,117 yards and six touchdowns in the season following his Super Bowl MVP performance.

Guregian reported that with Edelman’s particular knee issue, “nothing can solve the underlying problem.”

The report said that Edelman wants to play and will try to do so, but the decision ultimately lies with the Patriots. Edelman is under contract for 2021 for a base salary of $2.8 million and a cap hit of $6.1 million. If he were traded or released, it would clear $3.4375 million from the cap, according to Over The Cap.

A college quarterback at Kent State, Edelman was drafted by Bill Belichick in the seventh round of the 2009 NFL Draft as a wide receiver. He’s since caught 620 passes for 6,822 yards and 36 touchdowns in the regular season, plus 118 postseason receptions for 1,442 yards and five touchdowns. He’s rushed for 494 yards (regular season and postseason combined) while also returning 177 punts for 1,986 yards and four touchdowns, the most in franchise history.

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A three-time Super Bowl champion, Edelman ranks fourth in franchise history in receiving yards and ninth in receiving touchdowns. He ranks second in receptions, 52 behind Wes Welker.

CBSBoston.com Staff