All-time great New England Patriots wide receiver Julian Edelman announced his retirement on Monday. Edelman posted this message on Twitter to bid farewell to the game and Patriots fans.
He said he is “honored and so proud to retire a Patriot” and “Foxboro Forever.”
Foxboro Forever pic.twitter.com/x3SDDPJoTX
— Julian Edelman (@Edelman11) April 12, 2021
Edelman’s name showed up on the NFL’s transaction list on Monday as the Patriots released him due to a failed physical. The announcement of his retirement came shortly after. Immediately, praise and respect rang out from NFL players, coaches, and more.
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Patriots head coach Bill Belichick and owner Robert Kraft had nothing but glowing comments to make about Edelman. The Patriots’ official Twitter account shared statements from both men.
The ultimate competitor.
— New England Patriots (@Patriots) April 12, 2021
Free-agent cornerback and future Hall-of-Famer, Richard Sherman paid his respects to Edelman.
Hell of a career! #Respect https://t.co/defnxdGBlB
— Richard Sherman (@RSherman_25) April 12, 2021
Pats Buzz offered the following highlight of Edelman in his Super Bowl LIII MVP performance against the Los Angeles Rams in 2018.
Never forget when Julian Edelman torched the Rams secondary and earned himself a Super Bowl MVP.
Very very tough to see the Edelman chapter in New England end. Edelman has been an absolute warrior his entire career. pic.twitter.com/pjPToNzWyx
— Pats Buzz (@PatsBuzz) April 12, 2021
NFL Update broke down crucial aspects of Edelman’s storybook career.
Julian Edelman’s story is incredible:
– No scholarships out of high school.
– Played QB at Kent State.
– Didn’t get combine invite
– Drafted in the 7th round
– Plays 11 years as Tom Brady’s security blanket.
– 620 catches & 6,822 yards
– Wins 3 Super Bowls and a Super Bowl MVP. pic.twitter.com/rjVp7lPZBG
— NFL Update (@MySportsUpdate) April 12, 2021
ESPN’s Field Yates called Edelman’s career the “ultimate story in hard work and development.”
Julian Edelman is an ultimate story in hard work and development. A college QB turned WR with time spent at CB & punt returner.
He also has the second-most catches and yards in NFL postseason history.
And he’s the author of one of the great catches in Super Bowl history. pic.twitter.com/XiIxlpdiZN
— Field Yates (@FieldYates) April 12, 2021
NBC Sports Boston’s Tom Curran pointed out Edelman’s maturation as a man away from the field and retweeted his open letter to Meyers Leonard, the disgraced former Miami Heat player who used an anti-Semitic term during a live stream earlier this year.
One aspect of Edelman to appreciate as he retires is his individual growth off the field and his effort to work positively with his platform to affect change. https://t.co/b3EfibK8yZ
— Tom E. Curran (@tomecurran) April 12, 2021
The tributes could go on for hours, but it’s clear the impact Edelman’s career had on his teammates, peers, coaches, and fans who had an opportunity to watch him play.
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Is Edelman a Hall-of-Famer? Let the debate rage on, but based on this tweet, it would appear he is at the very least on Canton’s radar.
— Pro Football Hall of Fame (@ProFootballHOF) April 12, 2021
Last but not least, Edelman’s most famous ex-teammate, Tom Brady, paid his respects to one of his favorite receivers.
On the biggest stage and in the biggest moments, you always came through. You never lost that chip on your shoulder and you never let anyone define you as a person or player. I’m proud of you Jules. Love you @edelman11 https://t.co/7i5Qb6msor
— Tom Brady (@TomBrady) April 13, 2021
Why the Patriots Released Edelman Because of a Failed Physical
The Patriots organization did right by Edelman. They terminated his contract because of a failed physical which keeps him eligible for the injury protection benefit. This move can pay Edelman an additional $2 million, per ESPN’s Adam Schefter.
By having his contract terminated for a failed physical today, former Patriots’ WR Julian Edelman now becomes eligible for injury protection benefit, per the CBA, available to all players in this situation. Edelman can collect up to $2 million through this benefit.
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) April 12, 2021
This is the kind of gesture that will not be lost on Edelman or other players in the league. In this situation, not many will find fault in the Patriot Way.
How Does Edelman’s Retirement Impacts the Patriots’ Salary Cap Situation
The Patriots will get a bit of a break financially from Edelman’s exit, and that additional cap space could help facilitate a trade or perhaps another free-agent signing.
According to Patriots cap expert Miguel Bezan, the retirement will free up just over $2.5 million for New England. That takes their cap space up just over $15.2 million.
Julian Edelman’s retirement increased the Patriots salary cap space number by $2,567,647. https://t.co/Ba9bMLaix4
— Cap Space=$15,244,335 (@patscap) April 12, 2021
Edelman’s presence will be missed, but in the end, the Patriots could wind up winning from the additional money made available. Expect to see the Patriots draft at least one receiver later this month with the ability to replace Edelman.