With the New England Patriots clearly going in a different direction, choosing not to re-sign Julian Edelman up until now, it seems the wide receiver/punt returner will play the 2013 NFL season for a new team, as the Chicago Bears and the Houston Texans seem like the likeliest of options.
Edelman might be a bit of a risk. Some argue that the reason the Patriots have yet to sign the 26 year old player after four years with the team is that he isn’t completely recovered from the injury that kept him out of the final six games of the season in 2012. He hasn’t played in 16 games even once in his career, mostly used as a returner or a sometimes slot receiver, but the addition of Leon Washington from the Seattle Seahawks is probably the final shove out the door for Edelman.
Teams who need a bit more depth in their wide receivers core, which fits both the Texans and the Bears very well, would do well to sign Edelman, who caught 21 passes for 235 yards last season, and was on pace to post career highs in both categories, also catching three touchdown passes (another career best). The Bears have been talking about adding weapons to make Jay Cutler a little less dependent on Brandon Marshall. While Edelman is no Devin Hester, possibly mixing it up and giving the return man a little bit of help at special teams might be also something they’re thinking about.
The Houston Texans are probably in a similar situation to that of the Bears – Matt Schaub didn’t really enjoy too many passing options last season, as the Texans are looking to make their offense a little bit more versatile and not such a run-first program, putting too much emphasis on Arian Foster, who can’t take this kind of load every year, not to mention his heart condition that pops up from time to time. Edelman will also be a significant improvement to their return game, one of the key aspects they need to address before the beginning of next season.