FOXBORO — Where would your New England Patriots be without Julien Edelman, who had to fight and claw his way ... to a $1 million contract?
I know one particular location: Last bleepin’ place in the AFC East.
Yes, last place in the worst division in the National Football League. But instead, your Patriots, which have overcome two subpar weeks against AFC East rivals, Buffalo and the New York Jets and, in fact, may have already clinched the division.
But for some, unknown reason, Edelman, a free agent slot receiver was not picked up by anybody this past off-season and he had to settle for deal which will net him just over $1 million if he stays healthy.
Are you telling me 31 other teams, including the Jets, couldn’t pay this guy two or three times what he’s making here to make plays for them (remember, he returns punts and last year spent a few dozen plays playing defense).
Last night was a classic performance, arguably leading the Patriots, almost single-handedly, to a painful win (and painful to watch, too).
Here’s a quick stat report of his game.
Caught 13 passes, a personal record (besting his old one of 10).
Converted six of the Patriots’ nine first downs (not a misprint! ... nine!), including a 20-yard catch on third-and-15.
Ran for a first down, too, going four yards on the Patriots’ first drive, which ended in a touchdown.
He also returned punts for 17, 17, 13 and 15 yards.
When is the statue of Edelman going to be built? OK, I’m kidding, but when everybody starts getting healthy in the next few weeks, come late December the hero of this season might be Edelman, who had seven catches for 79 yards last week, including two for touchdowns.
“He’s a Welker-clonish,” said Jets coach Rex Ryan, after the game. “He’s not as good as Welker, but he’s close ... and does a lot of the same things. He’s obviously been well-tutored.”