Details of Julian Edelman’s contract finally leaked out on Monday, and it’s safe to say that free agency went a little better for him this time around.
While the exact terms were not disclosed, a league source told the Globe that Edelman signed a four-year deal worth $17 million with $2 million more in incentives. The deal includes $6 million guaranteed for skill and an additional $2 million guaranteed for injury, and the source said the contract is not heavily back-loaded with “funny money,” as is often common in the NFL.
The windfall is well-deserved for Edelman, 27, who is coming off a career year with 105 catches for 1,056 yards and six touchdowns. As a former seventh-round pick, Edelman made barely above league minimum for his first four seasons, and last year as a free agent, he signed with the Patriots on a one-year, minimum-salary contract (plus incentives) after receiving little interest on the market.
Edelman caught just 69 passes in his first four seasons combined, serving mostly as a punt returner, but took advantage of his opportunity in 2013 with Wes Welker’s departure and Danny Amendola’s inconsistent play.
Edelman reached all of his incentives to make slightly over $1 million last year, and now has cashed in on his first big payday. However, Edelman could not get quite as much guaranteed money as Amendola did last year when he was signed to replace Welker, even though Edelman clearly surpassed Amendola on the depth chart last season.
Amendola signed a five-year, $28.5 million contract with $10 million guaranteed, and finished with 54 catches for 633 yards and two catches in his first season in New England.
The Patriots also gave new receiver Brandon LaFell a decent deal, but one that doesn’t come with much guaranteed past the 2014 season. LaFell, who spent his first four seasons with Carolina, signed a fairly simple three-year deal worth $9 million, according to NFL Players Association records, with the only guarantee coming in a $3 million signing bonus.
LaFell has base salaries of $800,000, $1.8 million, and $2.4 million, and salary cap numbers of $2 million, $3.2 million, and $3.8 million. He also has roster bonuses of $12,500 in 2014 and $25,000 in 2015 and 2016 for each game he appears on the 46-man game-day roster.Ben Volin can be reached at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @BenVolin