New England Patriots

Feb 4, 2019; Atlanta, GA: New England Patriots receiver Julian Edelman speaks flanked by the Vince Lombardi trophy during Super Bowl LIII winning team press conference at Georgia World Congress Center. The Patriots defeated the Los Angeles Rams 13-3 to win an NFL record-tying sixth championship. (Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports)

Feb 4, 2019; Atlanta, GA: New England Patriots receiver Julian Edelman speaks flanked by the Vince Lombardi trophy during Super Bowl LIII winning team press conference at Georgia World Congress Center. The Patriots defeated the Los Angeles Rams 13-3 to win an NFL record-tying sixth championship. (Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports)

By Matt Dolloff, 985TheSportsHub.com

The Patriots have made three moves at wide receiver to start NFL free agency. But they all make less than Julian Edelman, and he’s already underpaid.

Now that the full details are out on Phillip Dorsett’s one-year deal to stay with the Patriots, Edelman remains the highest-salaried receiver on the Patriots at $2 million. Just under him is Dorsett at $1.5 million, plus a $500,000 signing bonus and $600k in per-game roster bonuses (per Field Yates).

Edelman, meanwhile, can earn up to $1.875 million more in bonuses and incentives on top of his $2 million salary. The Super Bowl LIII MVP may still make more than any other receiver on the team, but the Patriots would still do the right thing if they gave him a raise and perhaps an extension. Tacking on a year to his contract, which runs out after 2019, could give him a raise and help the Patriots with the cap too (his current hit is about $5.4 million).

Feb 5, 2019; Boston, MA: New England Patriots wide receiver Julian Edelman celebrates with the Vince Lombardi Trophy during the Super Bowl LIII championship parade through downtown Boston. (Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports)

Feb 5, 2019; Boston, MA: New England Patriots wide receiver Julian Edelman celebrates with the Vince Lombardi Trophy during the Super Bowl LIII championship parade through downtown Boston. (Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports)

It wasn’t necessarily Plan A for the Patriots to go bargain-shopping at receiver. According to NESN’s Doug Kyed, the Patriots made a late push to sign free-agent WR Adam Humphries, who kept his word and joined the Tennessee Titans, even though the Pats sent a better offer after he agreed. Tennessee gave Humphries a $9 million AAV.

So if the Patriots were willing to drop as much as $10 million annually on Humphries, how do they value Edelman? It’s a hard sell that they’d go into the season with a newcomer making $10 million while Edelman makes only $2 million.

More moves are likely at WR, but it might have to be a trade. There’s a way the Patriots can add an impact receiver who would still cost less than Edelman. They could spend draft capital to get, say, Sterling Shepard from the Giants. He’s making just $1.26 million in the final year of his rookie deal and he’d be a great fit in New England.

But if the Patriots end up making a bigger move at the position – a more expensive one – then they’d likely have to bump Edelman up the pay chart as well. It should happen, either way. They did a solid for James White and Lawrence Guy. It’s time to reward the Super Bowl MVP.

Matt Dolloff is a digital producer for 985TheSportsHub.com. Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Have a news tip, question, or comment for Matt? Follow him on Twitter @mattdolloff or email him at matthew.dolloff@bbgi.com.

— Salary cap information via Spotrac