- Mike Reiss, ESPN Staff Writer
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When New England Patriots receiver Julian Edelman was testing the free-agent market last week, he said quarterback Tom Brady was supportive regardless of the outcome, stressing that he had to take care of his family.
For Edelman, the end result was a double score.
Not only did he land a four-year contract from the Patriots with a maximum value of $19 million, of which $8 million is guaranteed, he also remained teammates with Brady.
“It would be very tough to leave him because he is my dawg,” Edelman said Thursday on a conference call, putting some extra emphasis on the last word.
Edelman and Brady, teammates since 2009 who have lockers next to each other at Gillette Stadium, were working out together at Southern California last week prior to the start of free agency. Brady has affectionately dubbed Edelman with the nickname "Minitron."
For Edelman, landing the big contract was meaningful considering the road he’d taken to that point – seventh-round draft choice making the transition from college quarterback to NFL wide receiver.
“It’s good to have a little security and knowing that a team believes in you enough to pay you that kind of stuff, and a little security on how many years I’ll be here,” Edelman said. “I’ve really never been in that situation. I’ve always felt like if I had a bad practice, I could potentially get cut the next day.
“It’s good to be back with this franchise. It’s a surreal moment.”
Edelman explained that the most difficult part of the free-agent process was preparing for the possibility to play elsewhere, because he had developed “a love” for the New England region and Patriots fans. Edelman took one free-agent visit, to the 49ers, his hometown team.
“That was like a little dream right there, I’m not going to lie,” he said, before reflecting on visiting 49ers training camp as a youngster.
But in the end, Edelman said the New England region feels like home as well.