His three rings speak for themselves in terms of his ability to show up in the biggest moments of the biggest games.
i still can’t believe that julian edelman managed to catch this pic.twitter.com/ZEvuI1vGLV
— Shea Serrano (@SheaSerrano) December 10, 2020
Edelman was at the top of his game for so long and made so many big plays that it raises an interesting question about his legacy going forward: Is he a Hall of Famer?
His career as one of the most dependable slot receivers of his generation is nothing to be ashamed of.
However, dependable does not make it into Canton; great does.
Edelman has not been great enough throughout his entire career to justify a gold jacket.
Here are some things that will likely keep him out of the Hall of Fame.
When looking at the list of Hall of Fame Wide Receivers enshrined in the Football Hall of Fame, one will notice that slot receivers are typically not considered for spots in Canton.
This is partially due to the fact that the big play wide-outs tend to get the most attention and partially because the role of the slot receiver has grown over time.
According to nfl.com’s Around the NFL staff, the class of 2021 Hall of Fame candidates were announced recently, and one of the best slot receivers of all time, Wes Welker, was left off the list.
If Welker is not even getting a sniff at the Hall of Fame, it is hard to imagine Edelman getting in.
Welker accumulated 903 receptions for 9,924 yards and 50 touchdowns in his 12 year career.
Compare that to Edelman’s 620 receptions for 6,822 yards and 36 touchdowns in 11 years.
Patriots fans are still claiming Julian Edelman will be in the Hall of Fame…so let's speak in facts.
Julian Edelman: 5,390 yards & 30 TDs
Chad Johnson: 11,059 yards & 67 TDs
Isaac Bruce: 15,208 yards & 91 TDs
Bruce & Johnson for some odd reason aren't in the HOF yet. pic.twitter.com/uWXQWDHc4y
— Chris Rosvoglou (@RosvoglouReport) February 7, 2019
Pro Bowls and All Pro Selections
Each of these awards shows where players rank among the best in the league in a given year.
It is reasonable to think that a player welcomed into the NFL Hall of Fame would be voted to the Pro Bowl or the All Pro team in at least a few of his years in the game.
Edelman has never been selected to either honor.
Through all of his greatness in the postseason — which includes being selected as the MVP of the Super Bowl in 2018 — his regular season production just hasn’t stacked up to that of his peers.
In order to be a Hall of Famer, a player must exhibit greatness in both the regular season and playoffs.
With that being said, some great regular season players have been given passes in the past despite below average postseason play.
The opposite does not normally ring true, and it is hard to imagine Edelman being the exception to the rule.
Hall of Fame Monitor
Pro Football Reference is a website that compiles statistics of every player, coach, and team in professional football.
Their Hall of Fame Monitor scale evaluates players and their likelihood of reaching the highest honor in their sport.
106 is the average rating for Wide Receivers currently in the Hall of Fame (though that number may be a little distorted by Jerry Rice’s astounding 311.81 rating).
Edelman’s rating is 35.35.
He is sandwiched between John Jefferson (35.58) and Greg Sauer (35.25), neither of whom are even considered to be borderline Hall of Famers.
Though he has owned up to it, served his time, and moved on from the incident, his suspension for violating the NFL’s performance enhancing drug policy may tarnish a portion of his legacy.
While PEDs have not been as rampant in football as they have been in baseball, what we can learn from America’s pastime is that voters do not like to grant those who compromise the integrity of the game a spot in the Hall of Fame.
If Edelman was a six time Pro Bowl Selection and at the top of greatest Wide Receiver of all time lists, voters may have a tougher decision about whether or not to look past the suspension.
But his performance does not stack up with some of the all-time greats, and his PED use won’t help his cause.
Not Quite There
Julian Edelman will forever be remembered as one of Tom Brady’s greatest security blankets, and he has nothing to be ashamed of for that.
As he sits in his retirement home telling stories of his illustrious career in the NFL, he can show them highlight tapes of his unbelievable catches, his three Super Bowl rings, and Super Bowl MVP award and be proud of his accomplishments.
He just won’t be able to do it wearing a gold jacket.