From somewhere in the primordial ooze of this pandemic quarantine, a rumor has emerged.
And we must take the figurative shovel to this wriggling little organism before it has a chance to grow.
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The rumor? The Patriots may trade wide receiver Julian Edelman.
The response I got from a league source when I asked about said rumor? "Not a chance in hell."
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The little thing grew legs on Wednesday when Ringer founder Bill Simmons joined Colin Cowherd on FOX Sports Radio and mentioned the possibility of Edelman going to the Detroit Lions.
In response to Simmons mentioning that Edelman-to-Detroit was something he was hearing, Cowherd said, "It's talked about."
As Thursday began, the chatter became a little more insistent. It reached the dreaded "it's out there" level of possibility.
Now, I will allow that there is some cap relief in the offing if the Patriots were to move Edelman, who currently has a $9.3M cap hit for this season. Our most trusted source for Patriots cap info for the past 20 years is Miguel Benzan of Boston Sports Journal. This is how Miguel sums up the cap implications of trading Edelman.
Q:Cap implications of an Edelman trade?— Cap Space=$1,101,775 (@patscap) March 23, 2020
A: An Edelman trade before 6/2 would result in $5,333,334 dead money. Since his cap number is $9,666,666 trading Jules would increase Patriots cap space by $3,658,332 if we presume a player w/ a $675 salary takes his place in the Top 51
There are some other numbers out there that say Edelman's hit would be $8.3M if he were dealt. That doesn't take into account the $3.3M in salary that would travel with Edelman and be saved by the Patriots. You also have to project whether or not Edelman achieves a workout bonus and some other bookkeeping to get the real number.
I glaze over with the cap stuff. But the long and short of it is the team will save north of $4M in cap space if they trade Edelman before June 1.
But trading away a going-on-34-year-old is not going to yield much in return.
Edelman had a 100-catch, 1,117 yard season despite being injured and the focal point of every defensive game plan in 2019. But how good will he be in 2021, 2022 or 2023? That's what teams consider before parting with draft picks. How many years of service can they get from the guy they are getting for a third-rounder?
So moving a tone-setting, chain-moving security blanket in exchange for a fourth-rounder in order to save $4M on the cap? When guard Joe Thuney is sitting there on the franchise tag, waiting to be renegotiated with a possible cap savings of $10M?
Where would the Patriots offense have been in 2019 without Edelman? Where would it have been in 2000 or 2001 without Troy Brown? Screwed.
Unless the Patriots want to raise the white flag on 2020 in early April, dealing Edelman makes no sense.