Why it was smart for Julian Edelman to front-load his contract, and other Patriots notes

Julian Edelman will make up to $9.5 million this season. (STEVEN SENNE/ASSOCIATED PRESS/FILE 2017)

Editor’s note: This originally appeared in this week’s Sunday Football Notes.

A few Patriots-related updates:

■  Julian Edelman didn’t break the bank with his recent contract extension, which will pay him somewhere between $13 million and $18.5 million over the next three years, based on his health and performance. If he earns it all, his average salary will be comparable to those of Robert Woods, Travis Benjamin, Mohamed Sanu, and Terrelle Pryor — all talented receivers, but none as productive or clutch as Edelman has been.

But Edelman was smart not to push for every dollar and to front-load the contract (he’ll make up to $9.5 million this year), as he has a good chance to see his entire contract through.

In 2018 and 2019, when Edelman will be 32 and 33 years old, his salary will be $2 million and his salary cap number will be $3 million. He might be at a declining age at that point, but his financials will be more than reasonable enough to justify keeping him around.

And for Edelman, remaining employed by the Patriots and winning Super Bowls with Tom Brady is far more important to his post-career life than earning a few extra million in football salary.

■  Veteran slot receiver Andrew Hawkins said he turned down more money elsewhere to sign with the Patriots, but he couldn’t have gotten less from the Patriots. His one-year deal is worth the veteran minimum $775,000 salary, and if he lands on injured reserve, his salary is bumped down to $443,000. Hawkins will be helped by the fact that his salary cap number is only $615,000, but has no dead money if he is released, and he likely only makes the team if a training camp injury befalls Edelman or Danny Amendola. Hawkins was scheduled to make $1.8 million with the Browns before they released him this offseason.

■  Robert Kraft had an interesting update on the NFL’s international series while speaking at the Cannes Lions Festival of Creativity in France.

“Now we play four games a year in London and sell tickets to 80,000 people, and we’re going to have a team in London,” Kraft said, via the New York Post. “We’re playing the Raiders in Mexico and have plans to play in Germany, Canada, Brazil, and China. I don’t know why not France?”

■  Devin McCourty was one of four NFL players to donate money for the cost of equipment for the Southeast Texas Oilers, a team of 11- and 12-year-olds in Beaumont that had its season canceled last year when the team decided to take a knee during the national anthem. Malcolm Jenkins and Torrey Smith of the Eagles and Anquan Boldin also donated funds for the team, which is playing in a different football league this fall.

“We wanted to make sure that we sent those kids the message that it’s OK to stand up for what you believe in,” Jenkins told ESPN. “We didn’t want them to walk away from the season feeling punished for trying to do the right thing. We wanted to make sure that was rewarded and acknowledged and encouraged, so that was our main motivation for helping.”

■  Derek Carr’s new five-year, $125 million extension set a benchmark for NFL contracts at $25 million per year. Rounding out the top five quarterbacks are Andrew Luck, Drew Brees, Kirk Cousins, and Joe Flacco, who all are making between $22 million and $25 million yet as a group have just one Super Bowl title among them. Tom Brady, meanwhile, makes $15 million per year, which ranks him 22nd among starting quarterbacks, tied with the Bears’ Mike Glennon.

Follow Ben Volin on Twitter @BenVolin.