New England's myriad free agents should be all but taken care of as another piece to the 2013 puzzle is added as the Patriots elect to bring back WR Julian Edelman on a one-year deal with incentives:
WR Julian Edelman will re-sign with the Patriots today. Visited the Giants but is going back to New England.— Mike Garafolo (@MikeGarafolo) April 10, 2013
There was some uncertainty regarding Edelman's future with the team after he scheduled visits with the New York Giants just last week. After gauging interest in a surprisingly conservative free agent market, Edelman opts to return to the team that first discovered his innate receiving ability. Edelman, 26, was a three-year starting quarterback at Kent State before being plucked from the seventh-round by New England in 2009.
Edelman has been viewed as a viable replacement for the slot duties of Wes Welker with his main knock being an inability to stay healthy. Edelman was given the nod in regards to playing time during the early part of the 2012 season before missing three games with an injured hand. After providing a career-high three touchdowns upon his return, Edelman broke his foot on December 2 and was placed on injured reserve.
Edelman offers New England some immense flexibility on offense and special teams--and in a few unfortunate instances, defense--while also establishing some familiarity with quarterback Tom Brady in an overhauled wide receiver group. Edelman has had a considerable amount of difficulty staying on the field during his career in New England, but as another versatile cog with untapped potential, the Patriots will gladly make him a cost-effective part of their uncertain plans as they move on without Wes Welker.