Deion Sanders had some interesting things to say about Julian Edelman. (James Lang/USA Today Sports)
Deion Sanders says Julian Edelman’s skin color is the reason why he isn’t considered one of the best receivers in the league.
On NFL Network Sunday, Sanders said Edelman, who put up a monstrous stat line during the AFC championship game, is a victim of reverse racism.
“Julian Edelman is one of the best receivers in the league. … It’s like reverse racism,” he said. “I’m not lying. This is real talk. Julian Edelman, just because he’s a caucasian receiver, they don’t give him the credit that he deserves. He deserves so much more. This kid can flat out play. There hasn’t been there an answer for him over the last several years. Julian Edelman moves the chains, he can get deep, he works between the numbers, works outside the numbers, he can throw the football, he can run the football. He does it all, man.”
While the Patriots were largely able to contain Antonio Brown (seven receptions for 77 yards), Chris Hogan and Edelman tore up the Steelers’ secondary, reeling in 17 catches for 298 yards and three touchdowns. After the extra-point, Edelman’s touchdown grab extended the Patriots’ lead to 34-9 with 1:01 remaining in the third quarter.
Despite averaging 98 receptions over his last three full seasons, the Patriots don’t pay Edelman like an elite wideout. According to Spotrac, he only took home $2.5 million in base salary in 2016. Next year, the figure bumps up to $3 million.
Edelman’s position, not skin color, is probably the reason why he’s not put on the same level as star receivers like Julio Jones. Given the success of other slot receivers in this offense, he’s largely viewed as expendable. Tom Brady seamlessly transitioned from Troy Brown to Wes Welker to Edelman. He’s the primary reason for their success, not the other way around.
Edelman is an incredible talent, but his stock takes a major hit without Brady. He probably knows that’s the case, too, since he’s never even threatened to hold out for a bigger deal.