Edelman explains how Belichick nearly drove him to leave Patriots originally appeared on NBC Sports Boston
In the documentary, Edelman speaks very candidly about a potential turning point in his career that occurred during the 2013 offseason, when New England let Wes Welker walk in free agency and signed Danny Amendola to a five-year, $28.5 million contract instead of giving Edelman a new deal.
"I was hurt," Edelman says, via NESN's Zack Cox. "I did everything Coach (Bill Belichick) said, gave four years of my life, and then (the Patriots sign Amendola). I’m not going to lie, I was pissed off. I was like, 'Dude, you’re coming to take my keys to the Cadillac? Dog, what’s going on? I’m over here on a minimum deal. This guy’s getting $34 mil?'"
While Edelman was confident in his abilities, he was still relatively unproven at that point and had failed to surpass his rookie season output of 37 catches for 359 yards. Still, the competitive slot man was incensed by the fact that Belichick appeared to view Amendola as the superior replacement for Welker -- to the point where he nearly left the team.
"As kid, as a young guy, experiencing that for the first time, I was like, '(Expletive) Belichick. (Expletive) the Patriots. I hate everyone here. How are you going to do this to me?'" Edelman said. "I took a visit to the New York Giants, and they offered me a contract."
Edelman would have gotten a raise in New York. But at the end of the day, the lure of catching passes from Brady convinced him to stay.
"I know how hard it is for receivers to gain the trust of Tom Brady, and we had a connection," Edelman said. "If I’m going to go out and sign a one-year deal, do I want to go sign a one-year deal with a completely new team that knows nothing about me? I ultimately decided to sign a one-year deal with the Patriots. I think it was league minimum with incentives."
That might have been the best deal Edelman signed. Amendola and Rob Gronkowski both missed time due to injuries in 2013, and Edelman took full advantage, exploding for a career-high 105 receptions for 1,056 yards and six touchdowns to establish himself as Brady's top target.
Edelman would maintain that title over the next eight seasons in addition to becoming one of the most productive pass-catchers in NFL postseason history. So, it's safe to say this situation worked out for all parties.
Tune into NFL Network on Friday at 9 p.m. ET to check out the full documentary -- which of course features some quality Belichick impressions from Edelman.