This Starter Won’t Be Back With the New England Patriots in 2021

Julian Edelman, Josh Gordon, Matt LaCosse, Ryan Izzo
WR Julian Edelman surrounded by New England Patriots teammates | Patrick McDermott/Getty Images

The New England Patriots' offensive statistics from the 2019 season were misleading, to say the least, as they finished seventh in the NFL with 26.3 points per game. It goes without saying that tally was bolstered by the team's historic defensive efforts.

With Tom Brady no longer in town, New England's outlook for the upcoming campaign is incredibly murky. Some analysts believe Bill Belichick intends to compete, while others are convinced that he is secretly plotting to tank for Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence.

Either way, you have to figure the Patriots will be mediocre in 2020. If that turns out to be the case, expect it to be wide receiver Julian Edelman's last year in Foxborough.

Edelman was reportedly blindsided by Brady and Rob Gronkowski's decision to team up with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Immediately following their departures, the three-time Super Bowl champ's future with in New England was cast into question, and rightfully so.

He signed a two-year, $15 million contract with the franchise last offseason, but the deal notably includes a potential out after 2020. A potential trade or release of Edelman, suddenly last on-field piece remaining from the Brady era, would give the Pats a clear path to embrace a rebuild.

At this stage in his career, the 34-year-old vet presumably fancies the chance to compete for one more championship before he hangs 'em up. Barring something unforeseen, that's not going to happen in Foxborough. Expect Edelman to pursue greener pastures in 2021.