The 2021 offseason is one of change for the New England Patriots’ wide receiver room. Not only did the club add Nelson Agholor and Kendrick Bourne in free agency, it also had to see Julian Edelman call it a career after 12 seasons and three championships.
Edelman may have started his career as a slot receiver, but he played a more flexible role than that; he regularly aligned as the Z or at times even the X option in New England’s passing offense. Still, he was at his best when playing in the middle of the field to take advantage of his quickness and ability to find weak spots in the coverage.
Needless to say that replacing the former Super Bowl MVP will be a tough challenge for the Patriots and their wide receiver position — one that uses the slot and Z-roles somewhat interchangeably at times, and with players usually not exclusively used in one of them. Heading into this year’s training camp, this should therefore make for an interesting competition.