The 2013 football season for the New England Patriots was a grind, due to injuries, an off field issue (mainly one before season even started) and just plainly not enough talent. This was a team that was praised for their hard work, their never say quit attitude and for the most part, playing their hearts out week in and week out. Under normal circumstances/healthy season the two pictured players: Julian Edelman and Aqib Talib might be considered “difference” makers for different reasons. But this season proved to not be a normal circumstance. With the injuries suffered throughout the season, these two were relied on more, and to the average fans naked eye…NOTICEABLY more and as it stands right now, these two are free go on their merry way.
Before I get too in depth about talking about Julian Edelman, obviously Tom Brady is THE guy, but take away what Edelman did this past season and my god this offense would have absolutely struggled and by offense I mean passing game and in turn teams would have loaded up in the box more than they already did. He had over 100 catches, over 1000 yards, and when it came to a big third down, everyone in the stadium knew where Brady was looking. To think about how much of a factor Edelman became is kind of crazy actually, for a former college QB, who prior to this season never really stayed healthy and was stuck behind the likes of Welker and Gronk when it came to TB12s binkies. So there in lies the debate: what will Bill do about his impending free agency. Lets first start by saying there is a ZERO % chance they franchise him, especially when the number is over 10m. Than there is the Danny Amendola factor in all this. Prior to them both becoming free agents, theyve had similar career paths, injury riddled and average production when healthy. Pats gave Amendola a 5 yr deal worth about 30 million this past offseason, so you have got to think Edelman is thinking hmm that sounds good. Could he ultimately be signed for less….of course but could anyone blame him if that’s what he was looking at? So, when it comes to Edelman, its not on him, its on the Patriots, because I think he wants that Amendola $$ and it might come down to who they want more. I say go with the guy your future hall of fame QB trusts more.
Than we have Mr. Talib, another guy when healthy, changes the dynamic of the Patriots defense. Changes it from cant stop a nosebleed to respectable. Neither being championship caliber by the way. Defense needs a few more pieces than a healthy Talib to get to where they want to be. He wasn’t here that long, but he had his flashes of lock-down corner type play. The thing that is going to stick out at the negotiation table is that in the last two season (both AFC title game losses) he was not on the field. The hard part, is being able to evaluate his impact on this defense because he hasn’t spent a lot of time in the defensive backfield when this team is at full strength. Their are quite a few factors when it comes to his future in NE. One being does his love for this professional culture/environment in Foxboro, that he has praised before, weigh in his decision. Secondly, does he like other former Patriots corners (Asante comes to mind) wanna get paid. Lastly, like it always does with players, does the risk of his career long inability to stay on the field outweigh his reward (play) on the field. Keeping in mind of these factors, the biggest one for me is what do the pieces around him look like; stay status-quo (keep adding street free agents, “value” guys) than let him walk. Add a few key pieces to have around him than try and sign him.
The bottom line with both players, is they both made a “difference” on the New England Patriots 2013 season both positively and negatively. The question going forward is, whether Bill feels these two will have more positive than negative effect going forward.