A source close to New England Patriots wide receiver Julian Edelman said it's doubtful the veteran will play a full season for the team in 2021, per NBC Sports Boston.
Edelman has been a huge contributor to the success that the Patriots had during their run with Tom Brady. The QB and the receiver developed a close friendship in addition to their great chemistry on the field.
Edelman underwent a procedure on his knee because of an injury he sustained in Week 7 against the San Francisco 49ers in October. The injury prematurely ended his 2020 NFL season. The Boston Herald's Karen Guregian reported that the knee has already hampered him for the better part of two years.
The Patriots have been uncharacteristically aggressive this offseason and revamped their entire receiving unit ahead of the 2021 season. The team signed tight ends Jonnu Smith and Hunter Henry and also added veteran wideouts Nelson Agholor and Kendrick Bourne.
With Julian Edelman's immediate future uncertain, let's take a look at what the team will be missing if the veteran is unavailable next season.
NFL: Julian Edelman shoes will be tough to fill for the New England Patriots
Julian Edelman was Tom Brady's security blanket for almost six years. He's entering his 12th NFL season in 2021 and his second season without Tom Brady as his quarterback. Edelman failed to score a receiving touchdown last season, the first time since the 2011-2012 NFL season.
Julian Edelman's Career Stats
-- Completions: 620
-- Receiving yards: 6,822 yards
-- Yards per reception: 11 yards
-- Receiving touchdowns: 36
Julian Edelman has caught 65.9% of the passes that have been thrown his way in his career. With Edelman projected to be doubtful for a full season in 2021, the Patriots will not only be missing their best slot receiver but also one of the franchise's best big-game players.
Edelman was nearly unplayable in the Patriots' Super Bowl win over the Los Angeles Rams in 2019. He was named Super Bowl MVP, becoming only the seventh wide receiver to achieve that feat.
Edelman was the go-to guy behind Gronkowski when Tom Brady needed a third-down conversion to move the chains late in the game. Bill Belichick knows that he can count on Julian Edelman to make a play when he needs it. Unfortunately, it looks like Belichick will need to find another player to make big plays late in games for the team in 2021.