Sport Opinion: Edelman is money, but Brady needs to spread wealth

00:40  15 december  2019
00:40  15 december  2019 Source:   bostonglobe.com

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Brady ’s current cap number stems from the Patriots’ commitment to spreading money around as well as the Despite what Brady ’s earnings might indicate, quarterback salaries have exploded across the league Julio Jones and Julian Edelman Are Redefining the No. 1 Receiver Role. Now, to be clear

That 's according to two wealth experts he interviewed for the story: Wendy Sarasohn, a real estate broker at Brown Harris Stevens who has handled some of Manhattan's most expensive properties, and Richard Kirshenbaum, a columnist at the New York Observer and author of "Isn't That Rich?

Diversification serves as the bedrock of a good investment portfolio. Everyone needs blue-chip performers, but if you don’t spread the wealth you could end up with diminishing returns. The same is true of an NFL passing attack. The Patriots passing game portfolio is heavily invested in Julian Edelman. He’s producing, but the offense has tanked.

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It increases Brady ’s dead-cap money , too ( money that will still count against the Patriots’ salary cap if Brady did finish in the top five in all of those categories last year, and it’s certainly possible to do it Then again, it’s no slam dunk — Julian Edelman is missing the first four games and coming off a

Edelman also implies that further banking regulation could motivate more loans to be made to consumers and businesses. Given those views on the role of the government in the economy, it's not so surprising after all that the man who inspired a movie character who famously said "Greed is good"

Edelman is at the epicenter of Tom Brady’s Circle of Trust, a circle with a smaller circumference than we’re accustomed to this season. The reliable wide receiver has 135 targets this season, the second-most in the NFL. The only player targeted more is New Orleans Saints receiver Michael Thomas (147 targets, 121 catches), who is threatening the single-season receptions record of 143 belonging to Hall of Famer Marvin Harrison. Edelman’s targets are at an all-time high rate (10.4 per game) despite battling rib, shoulder, and knee injuries. With 90 receptions for 1,010 yards, he’s on pace for career highs in both categories and is one touchdown reception short of tying his career-best of seven.

Funneling the football to Edelman with such frequency is a sign of the times and a sign of the trouble the Patriots offense is having cultivating other options in the wake of Rob Gronkowski’s retirement. The Patriots overreliance on Edelman is a symptom of an offense suffering from constricted airways, unable to find breathing room for Brady to distribute the football in his customary fashion. For years, the Brady bromide was that the quarterback’s favorite receiver was the open one. Now, it’s Edel-man, Edel-man, Edel-man, with a side of venerable running back James White.

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Brady has said that Guerrero's help recovering from his own ACL injury in 2008 is what really Julian Edelman and Rob Gronkowski also swear by Guerrero. According to a report from ESPN's More from ESPN: Belichick felt the need to permanently clarify Guerrero's role, drawing sharp boundaries.

An offense that has nowhere else to go is going to Edelman repeatedly. He has recorded eight straight games of double-digit targets and garnered 27.1 percent of the team’s targets. It makes sense because the Super Bowl MVP is the team’s most productive and clutch skill position player. He could find space to get open in an airplane bathroom.

But his prominence in the passing game also makes the Patriots more predictable and easier to defend. Teams have figured out Edelman is the focal point. They have started to focus more attention on him via double teams, forcing the Patriots to find alternatives. Ultimately, their season could hinge on whether any emerge for a unit that, dating to Week 8 against Cleveland, has gone six consecutive games without generating more than 22 offensive points.

When Brady surveys the field, he doesn’t see a lot of separation or chemistry staring back at him. First-round pick N’Keal Harry still has his NFL training wheels on. Undrafted rookie Jakobi Meyers displays flashes but remains inconsistent. Mohamed Sanu, who came over in a trade with Atlanta, is hobbled by an ankle injury and averaging a career-low 8.8 yards per reception this season, just 7.5 yards per grab with the Patriots. In his third season in Foxborough, Phillip Dorsett has the second-most experience of any receiver in the system behind Edelman, but the affable wideout seems to have plateaued as nothing more than a No. 3 receiver-type.

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On Wednesday, Patriots quarterback Tom Brady was asked about the relationship (read: trust) he As it stands, Rob Gronkowski and Julian Edelman are clearly Brady 's two favorite targets and it's not opportunities to get balls, and I need to do a better job finding those guys when they’re open and

With Gronk hawking products and hosting Super Bowl parties, the tight end has gone the way of the dodo bird in New England’s offense. According to Sharp Football Stats, the Patriots have the second-lowest percentage of targets to tight ends in the NFL, 9 percent. Only the Arizona Cardinals (8 percent) rank lower. The NFL average is 20 percent.

Will another Patriots pass-catcher please stand up. There’s no better time to do it than Sunday against the woeful 1-12 Bengals with a banged-up Edelman listed as questionable because of a knee injury that caused him to miss his regular Friday appointment with the media.

“Tom just tries to find the open guys. He does his best to spread the ball around,” said White, who is second on the Patriots in targets (83), receptions (62) and receiving yards (539). “We have a lot of capable guys on this team. Tom just tries to find a guy on each and every play.

“Everybody is a viable option on every single play. I think for our offense this year we just haven’t been executing as a whole. It’s not just you know Tom finding a certain person or things of that nature. It’s just everybody improving and being in the right spots. Like I said, we can all do better.”

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Brady and Guerrero are partners in a training facility, TB12 Sports Therapy Center, near Gillette Stadium, where the Patriots play their games. Edelman is coming off of a torn anterior cruciate ligament suffered in last year’s preseason, an injury that forced him to miss the entire season.

The trickle-down effect of Edelman’s isolation as the only wide receiver option has been increased attention for White, who has drawn double teams or seen himself getting matched up with defensive backs as teams have gotten wise to his proficiency as a pass-catcher. When Edelman and White draw attention other players have opportunities.

“Big-time. When they do stuff like that it means it’s single [coverage] everywhere else across the board, so we got to win our one-on-one matchups,” said Brandon Bolden. “We just got to go out there and make it like practice. Practice is way harder than what we do in the games, so we go to go out there and be us.”

Rarely have the Patriots been as reliant on one receiver as they are on Edelman this year. Even during Randy Moss’s record-setting season in 2007, when he had a higher percentage of the team’s targets than Edelman does this year, the Patriots still had Wes Welker catching a league-leading 112 passes for 1,175 yards.

The last time the Patriots leaned this heavily on Edelman statistically was 2016. They won the Super Bowl, and he set a career-high in receiving yards (1,106). But there were some crucial differences.

In ’16, Edelman had a career-high 159 targets, 29.1 percent of the Patriots total. But the Patriots didn’t rely so completely on Edelman for an entire season. In the first nine games of the season, Edelman was targeted 71 times, 7.9 targets per game. After Gronkowski got hurt against Seattle and briefly came back against the Jets before injuring his back to end his season, Edelman had 88 targets in the final seven games, 12.6 per game.

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The third-most targeted player that season was a tight end, Martellus Bennett. The imaginative and eclectic tight end was targeted 73 times and had 55 receptions for 701 yards and seven touchdowns.

This season is more reminiscent of 2013, another wide receiver bereft season for TBQB. Brady also didn’t look like Brady that season because of a lack of receiving options outside of his BFF Edelman, who enjoyed a breakout season with a career-high 105 catches for 1,056 yards and six touchdowns on 151 targets.

Brady ranks 30th in completion percentage this season at 60.5 percent, nestled between Jameis Winston and Andy Dalton. That’s like Lin-Manuel Miranda writing and performing with a community theater group. In 2013, Brady’s completion percentage was . . . 60.5 percent.

Edelman is not the problem here. The 33-year-old is one of the most clutch receivers of his generation.

“He’s a great separator,” said Bengals coach Zac Taylor. “He and Tom obviously have excellent chemistry. They’re on the same page, and they know how to attack defenses. So, he’s been one of the premier receivers in this league for a long time and somebody you certainly have to be aware of.”

But when Brady starts force-feeding Edelman the football to this degree it’s a red flag. It’s indicative not only of Edelman’s greatness, but the offense’s overall weakness.

Edelman is a money player, but the Patriots need to spread the wealth to get their offense paying dividends again.

Christopher L. Gasper is a Globe columnist. He can be reached at cgasper@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @cgasper.

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a crowd of people watching a football game: Baltimore Ravens wide receiver Marquise Brown (15) catches a pass for a touchdown as New York Jets cornerback Darryl Roberts (27) looks on during the third quarter at M&T Bank Stadium on December 12, 2019. 

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