The New England Patriots’ passing game has struggled mightily the last two weeks, and there is a chance that it will miss its most experienced player while trying to get back on track: as first reported by Jeff Howe of The Athletic, wide receiver Julian Edelman is “expected to miss some game action” due to a knee injury.
ESPN’s Adam Schefter later added that Edelman underwent surgery on his knee on Thursday morning.
Edelman being bothered by his knee is nothing new. Not only did he deal with a knee issue during the late stages of last season — an injury that eventually forced him to undergo surgery during the offseason — he also was listed on every injury report going all the way back to Week 1. While the veteran wide receiver did not miss any games up until this point, his production and comparatively limited playing time did raise questions.
All in all, Edelman has played 265 of a possible 389 offensive snaps through six games this year (68.1%). For comparison, fellow wide receivers Damiere Byrd and N’Keal Harry have been on the field for 92.5 and 71.2 percent of snaps, respectively.
Despite his smaller role compared to years past, Edelman has still played a vital role in New England’s offensive attack this season: the MVP of Super Bowl 53 is leading the team with 21 receptions on 35 targets for 315 yards, although a large chunk of the production — eight catches for a career-best 179 yards — came in Week 2 against the Seattle Seahawks. Recently, the 34-year-old has been rather quiet.
With him now to miss some time due to his knee, and with Harry being in the concussion protocol after taking a vicious hit against the San Francisco 49ers, the Patriots’ wide receiver group is down to Byrd and some youngsters: second-year men Gunner Olszewski and Jakobi Meyers are also on the 53-man roster, while the team has rookies Isaiah Zuber, Mason Kinsey and Kristian Wilkerson on its practice squad.
While the timeline of his recovery will determine his status on the roster, it would not be a surprise to see the Patriots move Edelman to injured reserve for at least three weeks.