New England Patriots

FOXBOROUGH, MASSACHUSETTS - OCTOBER 18: Julian Edelman #11 of the New England Patriots reacts following the teams 18-12 defeat against the Denver Broncos at Gillette Stadium on October 18, 2020 in Foxborough, Massachusetts. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

The New England Patriots are expected to get a trio of 2020 opt-outs back into action when the 2021 season officially begins.

But one of the team’s biggest question marks, wide receiver Julian Edelman, remains exactly that, according to NFL Network insider Ian Rapoport.

“[Edelman is] still trying to work his way back from a knee injury that drastically shortened his 2020 season,” Rapoport reported Friday. “My understanding is he does want to play in 2021. That’s not the important thing. The important thing is is his knee going to be healthy enough to play.

“He is still rehabbing. He is still recovering, still trying to see if he is healthy enough to be out there for the 2021 season. No decision made yet on which way that is going to go.”

That’s one interesting way to put it.

If Edelman is unable to play in 2021, it’s worth wondering if he’ll ever be good to play again. In a season marred by injuries, the 34-year-old Edelman missed 10 games in all due to injury, and totaled 21 catches on 39 targets for 315 yards during his six-game run.

If he were to miss next year in an attempt to get his knee right, Edelman would be staring down the potential of trying to come back at 36 years old. At that position, and especially with Edelman’s style, that seems like one awfully tall task.

The 5-foot-10 wideout is signed through the 2021 season at a cap hit just over $6.1 million.

Edelman, a seventh-round pick of the team back in 2009, has spent his entire career with the Patriots, and ranks second on the team’s all-time catches list (620), fourth in yards (6,822), and ninth in touchdowns (36).