The Patriots have terminated the contract of Super Bowl 53 MVP Julian Edelman after the receiver failed a physical.
The news was listed on the NFL’s transactions wire on Monday.
It brings an abrupt end to the 11-year New England tenure of the 34-year-old, who was a favourite option of quarterback Tom Brady and whose fingertip catch helped complete the Patriots’ historic Super Bowl 51 comeback win over the Atlanta Falcons.
Edelman appeared in just six games last season before going on injured reserve after a surgical procedure on his knee. He also missed the entire 2017 season after tearing the anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee.
Edelman was entering the final season of a two-year, US$15.5-million contract. He was facing an uphill climb to make the roster in 2021 after the Patriots’ efforts to remake the receiving group after their struggles last season. This off-season, the Patriots have already added receivers Kendrick Bourne and Nelson Agholor in free agency.
A seventh-round pick in the 2009 draft out of Kent State, Edelman won three Super Bowls with the Patriots and leaves ranked second in team history with 620 receptions, fourth in receiving yards 6,822 and ninth with 36 receiving touchdowns.
He will be most remembered for what he did during the postseason, through amassing 118 catches for 1,422 yards and seven touchdowns.
He reached his pinnacle in Super Bowl 53 when he hauled in 10 receptions for 141 yards in helping lift the Patriots to a 13-3 victory over the Los Angeles Rams.
That postseason, Edelman also tied Dallas’s Michael Irvin for the second-most 100-yard receiving games in the postseason with six, just two behind Jerry Rice’s NFL record.