Julian Edelman: Potential Jets

Robert Mayer-USA TODAY Sports

Julian Edelman was a seventh round pick out of Kent State for the Patriots in 2009. Like Josh Cribbs, he played quarterback at Kent State and moved to wide receiver in the NFL. After contributing only 69 catches, 714 yards, and 4 touchdowns in his first four NFL seasons, Edelman had a breakout 2013. In part due to all of New England's losses, Edelman became a featured part of the passing game with 105 catches, 1,056 yards, and 6 touchdowns. Could the Jets, a team in need of a receiver, come calling?

Edelman is not a particularly big receiver at 5'11" and 198 pounds. He is primarily thought of as a slot receiver, but according to Pro Football Focus half of his production came from places other than the slot. I don't think the presence of Jeremy Kerley would necessarily preclude Edelman from being effective with the Jets. A coordinator like Marty Mornhinweg could come up with effective personnel groupings.

Edelman also brings some extra things to the table. As a college quarterback, he could be part of the Wildcat package and be used on trick plays. He also has extensive experience as a punt returner. His 12.3 career average on punt returns actually ranks first among all active players according to Pro-Football-Reference.com.

So I think Edelman could be a useful part for the Jets. How useful is the question, though. Digging deep, I'm not sure he is as much of an asset as his stats would suggest. 100 catches is nothing to sneeze at. I do, however, look at the impact of these catches. The Patriots tended to look to get the ball out to him on short stuff. He had 85 receptions caught inside 10 yards of the line of scrimmage. For fellow 100 catch guys Brandon Marshall and Andre Johnson those numbers were 51 and 65 respectively.

Edelman was not really dynamic after the catch on the short stuff either. Despite his 105 grabs, only 9 netted a gain of 20 yards or more. That puts him outside the top 60 in the league. PFF has him tied for 59th in the league among receivers who played a quarter of their team's snaps with an average of 4.5 yards after the catch.

I think Edelman could be useful, but only at the right price. He is purely an ancillary part and a solid one. He understands how to read coverages and sit in the holes in zones. He wouldn't be able to succeed in New England's offense unless he was good at these things. He's purely a chain mover, though, and one the Patriots did make an effort to get into open space so he was not put in situations where he needed to be physical.

To get top dollar in this league as a guy who catches a lot short, you need to be a guy who can take it to the house at any point. Edelman cannot do that, and he is limited. I would be hesitant to give Edelman more than $3 million, and even that is a stretch to me. What do you think?

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