Julian Edelman to become free agent

Updated: March 12, 2014, 12:47 AM ET
ESPN.com news services

Julian Edelman was unable to reach a deal Tuesday with the New England Patriots and will test free agency, a source told ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter.

[+] EnlargeJulian Edelman
AP Photo/Elise AmendolaFifth-year wide receiver Julian Edelman had a breakthrough season for New England in 2013 with 105 catches for 1,056 yards and six touchdowns.

This marks the second straight season that Edelman will become an unrestricted free agent. This time around, however, the receiver has more leverage following a 105-catch season that included 1,056 receiving yards and six touchdowns.

Edelman re-signed with the Patriots last offseason, taking a one-year deal worth a shade over $1 million if he reached all incentives -- which he did. Only the Patriots and New York Giants pursued him last year, in part because of his injury history.

Edelman, who turns 28 on May 22, noted that the big difference for him in 2013 was being able to stay on the field.

"The main thing about this year was that I had four years under my belt and 'could I stay healthy?' I haven't been able to stay healthy for a whole year," Edelman told ESPN Radio's "SVP and Russillo" program in the week leading up to the Super Bowl. "I was able to stay healthy and then guys get hurt and you're given an opportunity."

Edelman is also a dynamic punt returner, averaging 10.7 yards per return in 2013.

ESPNBoston.com's Mike Reiss contributed to this report.

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