As a seventh-round pick who was forced to change positions when he got to the NFL, Julian Edelman never had much security in his first five years with the Patriots.
“I always felt if I had a bad practice, I could potentially get cut the next day,” he said Thursday.
But Edelman won’t have to worry about his roster spot this year now that he’s signed a four-year deal worth $17 million overall and $6 million guaranteed. The Patriots rewarded him after he had a breakout season in 2013, setting career highs in catches (105), yards (1,056) and touchdowns (six).
Although Edelman visited with his hometown San Francisco 49ers last week before re-signing with the Patriots, he said that returning to New England, where he has played his entire career, made the most sense.
“The best fit for me and my skill set,” he said. “Like I keep saying, Foxborough is home. I’ve spent most of my adult life out there, so I can say right now I know Boston better than I know San Francisco. I go to the Cape more than I go to Lake Tahoe. So I guess I am a New Englander, when it comes down to it.”
Edelman said he leaned heavily on quarterback Tom Brady for advice. Not only did they develop a deep connection last season, but both are Bay Area natives and share the same agent. Brady jokingly gave Edelman the nickname of “Minitron” last year.
“TB let it be known that he wanted me back,” Edelman said. “But at the same time, Tom is also a great friend of mine. He also told me I have to take care of myself and my family.”
Ultimately, though, Edelman couldn’t leave Brady and play for another quarterback.
“I couldn’t leave the guy. He’s my dog,” Edelman said.
Edelman’s contract, a copy of which was obtained by the Globe, includes a $5 million signing bonus, and salary cap numbers of $2.75 million, $4.25 million, $4.75 million and $5.25 million. Edelman’s cap numbers are low enough that he has a decent chance of seeing at least three of the four years on his deal.
Edelman said he is excited to see the Patriots also signing Darrelle Revis, Brandon Browner, and Brandon LaFell this offseason.
“All three guys, it’s pretty good to have that, and it’s just going to make camp and [offseason workouts] a lot more competitive,” he said.
Edelman was calling from California, where he has been living and training. He also posted a photo recently of he and Rob Gronkowski visiting the set of the upcoming Entourage movie, which he called an “awesome” experience.
“It was surreal to go out there and meet all the fellas,” he said. “[Mark] Wahlberg, he’s helped me out with a lot of that stuff. He’s always asked me if I want to come and be around it. It was definitely a fun experience to go out and watch these people do their work, and compare it to how we do our work.”
And when asked if he has a cameo in the movie, Edelman gave the perfect Patriots answer.
“You’ll have to ask Coach [Bill] Belichick on that,” he quipped.