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Sep 20, 2020; Seattle, Washington, USA; New England Patriots quarterback Cam Newton (1) and wide receiver Julian Edelman (11) huddle with teammates during pregame warmups before a game against the Seattle Seahawks at CenturyLink Field. Mandatory Credit: Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

By Alex Barth, 985TheSportsHub.com

With one no-stakes game remaining on the Patriots’ schedule, many are already turning their attention to the offseason. However, you won’t find Bill Belichick among that group.

Speaking with reporters Friday morning, Belichick confirmed Edelman will not play in the Patriots’ final game of the season, meaning his knee procedure back in October turned out to be season ending. Naturally, attention turned to the 34-year-old receiver’s future.

Asked if he ‘envisions’ Edelman returning to New England for the 2021 season, Belichick replied “I think it’s way too early to start talking about next year.”

Edelman’s contract does run through the end of the 2021 season, but there is an out for the team this year that would save them about $4 million in cap space. It’s also possible that Edelman, in the twilight of his career, may not want to spend his final NFL season(s) as part of a rebuild.

FOXBOROUGH, MASSACHUSETTS – OCTOBER 25: Julian Edelman #11 of the New England Patriots warms up prior to their game against the San Francisco 49ers at Gillette Stadium on October 25, 2020 in Foxborough, Massachusetts. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

For what it’s worth, Belichick did add that Edelman has been a fixture around Gillette Stadium even when he was on IR. “He was around regularly,” Belichick said. “He did a good job of using his experience to help other guys in areas that he was familiar with and could give them benefit from his experience and some guidance.

Later in the call, Belichick was asked a similar question about quarterback Cam Newton.

When asked if Newton is someone he’d “consider working with in the future,” Belichick again replied he’s not thinking that far ahead yet. “I want to do the best that I can to prepare our team to give us every opportunity to perform well on Sunday,” Belichick told the media. “So, all your questions about some other year and going forward and all that, we’ll deal with that in due time. But, right now, I really want us to try to go out and perform well on Sunday.”

When Newton spoke with the media on Thursday, his tone seemed to indicate he doesn’t believe the team will have him back for the 2021 season.

This upcoming offseason will be one of the most important and unique in recent Patriots history. And while many are excited to get going on the reshaping of the roster, Belichick is still focused on the Jets.

Click here for 98.5 The Sports Hub’s complete coverage of the Patriots.

Alex Barth is a writer and 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. Thoughts? Comments? Questions? Looking for a podcast guest? Let him know on Twitter @RealAlexBarth or via email at Alexander.Barth@bbgi.com.