2020 is sure going to feel weird for New England Patriots wide receiver Julian Edelman. The guy who would throw passes his way -- Tom Brady, remember him? -- has moved down to Tampa Bay, but not to play shuffleboard. Rather, he's suiting up for the Buccaneers. So, not only does Edelman have to prove his worth as a top wideout in the league without the help of TB12, but he needs to do it because of the situation regarding his contract.
What doest his mean specifically? Well, the former Super Bowl MVP has the opportunity to cash in on $2.5 million in incentives this season, which presents some added pressure for an undersized receiver who isn't getting any younger.
For Edelman to secure the full value of these incentives, he needs to record 100 receptions the upcoming season. Even if he doesn't get to the century mark, however, he can still make money; the Pats will pay him $500,000 each for reaching 60, 70, 80, 90, and 100 catches.
This is not to mention that Edelman has an opt-out clause at the conclusion of the 2020 season. If he performs to his usual standards, he's almost certain to earn a new deal, either from the Patriots or a rival hoping to kick them while they're still reeling from Brady's departure.
Normally, stuffing the stat sheet with receptions would be a natural feat for Edelman, but the task has become much more difficult now that Brady is no longer in New England. Edelman will have to catch passes from one of Jarrett Stidham, Brian Hoyer, or Cody Kessler unless the team makes a big move on the open market. That doesn't exactly bode well for the 11-year veteran as things stand.
Unless the Patriots take a top quarterback in the upcoming NFL Draft or hand the bag to a guy like Cam Newton, catches might be hard to come by for Edelman this year. But with the money he could earn, he won't be lacking for motivation.