Edelman: Canton or Cannot and What of PEDs?

TheoShmeo

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So the Edelman to the Hall discussion is infecting various threads.

The prevailing view seems to be that his regular season numbers are just too low and the lack of Pro Bowls is also a factor. On the other side, some point to his post season numbers and very serious contributions to three Super Bowl wins.

Though I have not seen a lot of mention of his PED suspension as a factor here, some national writers, including some baseball writers FWIW, are opining that getting caught should disqualify him or at least be considered to be a real demerit.

My motivation for starting this thread is to focus the discussion in one place and, in particular, to see if folks think the PED suspension should and will be a meaningful factor in the conversation.

I know some will answer that the regular season numbers are so low that the PEDs thing will remain a red herring, and will never have the chance to enter into the discussion. Others might look at it in reverse: he got caught so even if he had the regular season numbers, he should be disqualified.

In sum, all Julian talk re the HOF is welcomed...with a fine point on whether the PEDs thing matters.
 

BaseballJones

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I don't think he's a HOF player yet. But if he puts up a few more incredible postseasons and solid regular seasons, he can be in the discussion. Nothing wrong with being a really, really, really good, but not quite HOF-caliber, wide receiver.
 

Caspir

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I don't think anyone who is even the least bit intellectually honest would dock an NFL player for using PEDs. I mean, being built like a tank, and running like a world class sprinter, while having the hand eye coordination of a professional marksman are not usually traits that combine inside a single human. Let alone 53 of them, per team.

I don't think he's a HOF'er, but I can see the argument. If this were baseball, he would be "clutch," "calm under pressure," and all sorts of other platitudes writers use to justify very good players being selected to a museum for the very best players. The NFL seems a lot more rigid in their criteria for the most part. Curious how the evolution of the game, and skill positions on general will affect this line of thinking.
 

Super Nomario

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Edelman has been a great Patriot but I cannot look at the 15 finalists for the HOF last weekend (only five of whom can make it) and think he is more qualified than any of them. Hines Ward can't get from the top 25 to the top 15; he has more than twice as many yards as Edelman, nearly three times as many touchdowns, also was a Super Bowl MVP and big-time playoff performer (not as many yards as Edelman but still 1100+, and 10 TD in the same amount of games vs Edelman's 5), made four Pro Bowls (to Edelman's zero), had six 1000 yard seasons (to Edelman's two), had three 10+ TD seasons (Edelman has never had more than 7) ... it's not close. And Ward is a guy who is no lock to get enshrined.
 

Bergs

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I don't think any NFL writers give a crap about PEDs. If they did, they wouldn't be NFL writers. That doesn't mean they won't mention it as an ex post facto justification for voting "no," but even that is fraught with the dangers of acknowledging several decades of substance abuse in the league.

As for Jules' case, it's tough to say. The regular season counting stats aren't there, but holy shit, those playoff numbers (and accompanying signature moments). As a Pats fan, I am probably biased, but I say "yes", though likely not on the 1st ballot.
 

pappymojo

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Agreed with what has been said. Still, let's see how his career looks in two years. If he can reach some of Jerry Rice's post-season numbers, I think his case gets a lot stronger.
 

drbretto

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I think he has the personality/story/big moments of a HoFer. The problem is, that's not enough, the numbers have to back it up. I don't know football enough to know if his numbers are good enough, but based on what I've been reading, the more believable analysis is that he does not. If you give charitable predictions for the remainder of his career, I think to beat out the PED narrative is to keep doing what he's been doing, but for like 2 more Super Bowls. Otherwise, those who have decided to go ahead and make their choice about PEDs have already made it.

Personally, I think that's a bunch of horse shit. Everyone is either on PEDs or on something that should probably be on the list and getting caught is basically random. Either you can't afford to be stealthy or get sloppy, or you're honestly trying to be good and ingesting something you didn't know you were ingesting. Not voting for people you might think is "tarnished" does nothing to protect the sanctity of the Hall. It just means only the ones lucky/careful enough not to get caught get inflated.
 

Papelbon's Poutine

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Edelman has been a great Patriot but I cannot look at the 15 finalists for the HOF last weekend (only five of whom can make it) and think he is more qualified than any of them. Hines Ward can't get from the top 25 to the top 15; he has more than twice as many yards as Edelman, nearly three times as many touchdowns, also was a Super Bowl MVP and big-time playoff performer (not as many yards as Edelman but still 1100+, and 10 TD in the same amount of games vs Edelman's 5), made four Pro Bowls (to Edelman's zero), had six 1000 yard seasons (to Edelman's two), had three 10+ TD seasons (Edelman has never had more than 7) ... it's not close. And Ward is a guy who is no lock to get enshrined.
Pretty much this, in a nutshell. There's such a logjam that the 5 player limit pretty much negates any chance he has...though I'm not sure if the discussion is "will he" or "should he"? In both cases I say no, but I can squint and see some kind of argument for the latter there, even if I disagree. Comparing stats to guys like Lynn Swann I think is useless with the way rules and offenses have changed. I mean, Isaac Bruce has twice as many catches and 3x yards and TDs and he isn't in yet.
PEDs won't impact him, they all use them and everyone knows it.
 

bankshot1

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Maybe the Patriot's Jewish Wide Receiver Hall of Fame in Canton Ma, but not the other Hall in Canton Ohio I don't think his regular season #s are there.
 

BusRaker

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I think Jules has a couple of good seasons left, and I doubt he goes anywhere until Brady retires. But I agree that it would take another 2,000 yards and deep playoff run. And if you took TB12's "all-star" team from his career, he wouldn't even start. (Moss, Gronk, Welker, Troy Brown),

Interesting to note he has fumbled 22 times compared to Gronks 4! That's a lot of safeties and linebackers to be carrying around to only fumble 4 times.
https://www.pro-football-reference.com/teams/nwe/career-receiving.htm
 

Bergs

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I think Jules has a couple of good seasons left, and I doubt he goes anywhere until Brady retires. But I agree that it would take another 2,000 yards and deep playoff run. And if you took TB12's "all-star" team from his career, he wouldn't even start. (Moss, Gronk, Welker, Troy Brown),

Interesting to note he has fumbled 22 times compared to Gronks 4! That's a lot of safeties and linebackers to be carrying around to only fumble 4 times.
https://www.pro-football-reference.com/teams/nwe/career-receiving.htm
They have Welker as a PR on that table, but not on his F-Ref page. Funny.
 

DrewDawg

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DISCLAIMER: I am NOT saying Edelman is a HOFer.

The Pro Bowl thing though---he's had 3 seasons with numbers Pro Bowl worthy and in 2 of those seasons the Patriots made the Super Bowl, meaning he couldn't even been named if someone pulled out. For example, in the 2017 Pro Bowl (after the 2016 season), 7 AFC WRs can rightfully claim to be Pro Bowlers. Edelman, had the Pats lost in postseason, had a decent shot to be named as injury replacement. Instead, he was making a ridiculous catch in the greatest Super Bowl comeback of all time.

Here's how he compared to the guys named as alternates:

Edelman: 98 for 1106, 3 TDs

Sanders: 79 for 1032, 6 TDs
Landry: 94 for 1136, 4 TDs
Thomas: 90 for 1083, 5 TDs

(for the record, he also had comparable numbers to Cooper and better numbers than AJ Green who also made it that year)

All that to say, he hasn't made a Pro Bowl, but had his team not played as well a few times, maybe he could have. But I'm sure he'll take the Super Bowl. After all, those Super Bowl runs are what is causing this discussion. If he had NOT had those runs, he'd be a really good WR, with a few Pro Bowls to his name, and this would never even be a discussion.

This isn't to make a HOF argument for Edelman, because I'm not, but I respect the idea of thinking about the HOF in a different way. Let's just say that when he does this all again next year, then we have an argument.

So, on a Pats board, most of us don't think he's a HOF'er. I'm interested to see the arguments we have anyway, even though we likely all agree.
 
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BusRaker

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Perhaps if he can reinvent himself as the quarterback of the Denver Broncos he'd be a shoe-in.
 

Deathofthebambino

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This is what I wrote in the other thread. I think the case will eventually come down to whether or not the HOF voters start viewing the slot receiver position independently from the other wide receivers. As they should:

I think the Edelman debate has two facets to it. The first is obviously how much voters will weight his post-season accomplishments. I think that will ultimately be a very subjective decision, and one that is probably not worth discussing here. We all know what Edelman has done in the post-season and what he's meant to the SB titles. We don't know how the voters will ultimately decide on an individual level as to how much that should overlook his regular season numbers.

However, the 2nd part of this is whether or not the voters will begin to recognize slot receivers in their own context as a different position. It wasn't long ago that a third wide receiver on the field was basically a brand new concept. Comparing Julian Edelman to Jerry Rice or Tim Brown or even OBJ is foolish. He's playing a completely different position. It's no different than trying to compare a tight end to a wide receiver. Relief pitchers didn't get into the HOF in baseball 25 years ago, and Mariano Rivera just became the first unanimous choice. An argument could be made that Julian Edelman is the greatest option-route runner in NFL history, because he's playing a position that demands more of it than most others. Edelman's career isn't done, so it's hard to say where he'll rank statistically among the other great slot receivers of the NFL, but I think when looking at his stats, that's what folks need to do. And when you do that, and then toss the post-season accomplishments and moments on top of it, it's not surprising that we're starting to see a groundswell of support for him from very different corners of the NFL landscape.

FTR, I'm not sure where I stand. If his career ended today, I probably wouldn't vote him in. However, if he has another 2-3 years of solid regular season production, and maybe another post-season run like the one he just had, I'd probably be swayed at that point.
 

Super Nomario

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Interesting to note he has fumbled 22 times compared to Gronks 4! That's a lot of safeties and linebackers to be carrying around to only fumble 4 times.
https://www.pro-football-reference.com/teams/nwe/career-receiving.htm
I looked at fumbles a couple years back and punt returns are fumbled (or muffed) about three times as often as scrimmage plays. It looks like half (11/22) of Edelman's career fumbles are on punt returns. Gronk's rate is very good; you'd probably expect him to have about twice as many with how many receptions he's had.
 

Marbleheader

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Do people really passionately care about the football hall of fame? Really all the HOF are jokes. I mean, I'm sure it means something to him, but I'm also sure he will be quite happy with 3+ rings and a Super Bowl MVP. I'm guessing there's plenty of current members of the Hall of Fame that would trade places with him if he doesn't get in. As a fan, I don't care if Brady is the only one that joins Ty Law there. This team is successful specifically because guys put team above gaudy stats.
 

patinorange

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Do people really passionately care about the football hall of fame? Really all the HOF are jokes. I mean, I'm sure it means something to him, but I'm also sure he will be quite happy with 3+ rings and a Super Bowl MVP. I'm guessing there's plenty of current members of the Hall of Fame that would trade places with him if he doesn't get in. As a fan, I don't care if Brady is the only one that joins Ty Law there. This team is successful specifically because guys put team above gaudy stats.
Maybe it's just me getting old, but I really could care less about any HOF's. Any sport. Harold Baines? Jesus. I'm happy for the individuals that make it, I'm sure it means something to them. But fans? Championships are all that count in the long run.
 

Preacher

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Maybe it's just me getting old, but I really could care less about any HOF's. Any sport. Harold Baines? Jesus. I'm happy for the individuals that make it, I'm sure it means something to them. But fans? Championships are all that count in the long run.
So you could care less? Why even care at all then?
 

Archer1979

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I've always considered the PED suspension as another attempt from Goodell at league-parity a la DeflateGate. What he was banned for wasn't on the banned substance list. There's issues with custody of the sample. Edelman, while admitting a mistake, isn't really aware of what he took that got the substance in his system. He fought the suspension. Lost the appeal(not surprisingly) and just went with it to give his leg an extra four weeks.

All that said, not a HOFer. Yet. Needs to put up the numbers in the regular season. Post-season resume is pretty much there. Case is probably going to hurt in the regular season since the success of the offense is moving the ball around so his stats aren't going to get gaudy unless the match-up calls for it.
 

Papelbon's Poutine

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DISCLAIMER: I am NOT saying Edelman is a HOFer.

The Pro Bowl thing though---he's had 3 seasons with numbers Pro Bowl worthy and in 2 of those seasons the Patriots made the Super Bowl, meaning he couldn't even been named if someone pulled out. For example, in the 2017 Pro Bowl (after the 2016 season), 7 AFC WRs can rightfully claim to be Pro Bowlers. Edelman, had the Pats lost in postseason, had a decent shot to be named as injury replacement. Instead, he was making a ridiculous catch in the greatest Super Bowl comeback of all time.

Here's how he compared to the guys named as alternates:

Edelman: 98 for 1106, 3 TDs

Sanders: 79 for 1032, 6 TDs
Landry: 94 for 1136, 4 TDs
Thomas: 90 for 1083, 5 TDs

(for the record, he also had comparable numbers to Cooper and better numbers than AJ Green who also made it that year)

All that to say, he hasn't made a Pro Bowl, but had his team not played as well a few times, maybe he could have. But I'm sure he'll take the Super Bowl. After all, those Super Bowl runs are what is causing this discussion. If he had NOT had those runs, he'd be a really good WR, with a few Pro Bowls to his name, and this would never even be a discussion.

This isn't to make a HOF argument for Edelman, because I'm not, but I respect the idea of thinking about the HOF in a different way. Let's just say that when he does this all again next year, then we have an argument.

So, on a Pats board, most of us don't think he's a HOF'er. I'm interested to see the arguments we have anyway, even though we likely all agree.
I see your point, but the schedule change is only a few years old and I don't think there's any kind of rule that says they couldn't name him whether he was playing in the SB or not. They could name him and have him back out if so desired to honor his season.

I know you're not making the case and I completely agree that the "honor" has become so arbitrary with guys backing out fake injuries and/or backing out because of the SB, but when you look, you think he'd have gotten at least an honorable mention; and "injury" replacements are usually known before the conference games.

End of day he's really only had 3 full seasons, 1 injury shortened and one suspension shortened, which leads to his numbers being so low. But he isn't exactly Sandy Koufax.

(And again, I'm not arguing with you, just pointing out some things, I think we are in agreement.)
 

rodderick

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Hines Ward is fighting an uphill battle to get in and he has more than double Edelman's regular season output, made 4 Pro Bowls and is pretty close to Edelman in postseason accolades. I've never once thought Julian was anything close to a hall of famer. Dude's great for the Pats and one of my favorite players, but I really don't think he should be in this conversation.
 

BigSoxFan

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I think Edelman is now worthy of consideration due to his postseason achievements but don’t think he’s worthy of entrance. The career regular season production just isn’t there but if he can pop off 2-3 more quality years, then I think you can make a decent argument for him. Pretty remarkable that we’re even talking about this given his late start.
 

Deathofthebambino

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Hines Ward is fighting an uphill battle to get in and he has more than double Edelman's regular season output, made 4 Pro Bowls and is pretty close to Edelman in postseason accolades. I've never once thought Julian was anything close to a hall of famer. Dude's great for the Pats and one of my favorite players, but I really don't think he should be in this conversation.
I could be mistaken, but I'm pretty sure I'm not. Hines Ward didn't become primarily a slot receiver until the end of his career. Although he wasn't a big guy (he was 6'0), he was primarily an outside receiver, and moved into the slot role later in his career, after he had amassed some huge totals.
 

Average Game James

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I love Jules, absolutely love the guy. Not that he needs it, but if we’re ever in the same bar I’m buying all his drinks because the dude had contributed to so much joy for me as a sports fan...

...but I’m sorry, he’s not close to being a Hall of Fame player yet in my mind. Stats and Pro Bowls and all that aside, the question I ask myself is: how many seasons have I even considered him a top 10 WR in the NFL? It’s maybe 1 or 2. For just next season, how many guys in the league would you take over him on a generic franchise, catching passes from a generic QB? There’s an argument to be made for anywhere from 12 to 16 guys, IMO. Jules is 31st in receiving yards among active players.

Edelman has done incredible things in the biggest moments for the Pats, but I really am not sure how much we ascribe to him? To playing with Brady? To merely getting the opportunity where many other guys don’t? He’s come up big in key moments where statsictically superior players have not (*cough* Welker *cough*). But does that really make him a HoF player? Patriots Hall of Fame? 100%. Pro Football Hall of Fame? Still a long way to go, IMO.
 
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rodderick

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I could be mistaken, but I'm pretty sure I'm not. Hines Ward didn't become primarily a slot receiver until the end of his career. Although he wasn't a big guy (he was 6'0), he was primarily an outside receiver, and moved into the slot role later in his career, after he had amassed some huge totals.
So the threshold for guys who primarily played in the slot throughout their whole careers should be lower? I mean, it's about as direct a comparison as you could get aside from Welker (who also has much better numbers, was a Pro Bowler and won't get in).
 

Deathofthebambino

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So the threshold for guys who primarily played in the slot throughout their whole careers should be lower? I mean, it's about as direct a comparison as you could get aside from Welker (who also has much better numbers, was a Pro Bowler and won't get in).
I don't know. Should it? I think it should. Should the threshold for wins and strikeouts be lower for a relief pitcher versus a starting pitcher? IMO, the slot position is a completely different position than an outside wide receiver. I'm not alone in this regard either. PFF did a study on the rise of the slot receiver back in 2016 (I don't read them much anymore, so I can't say if they've done much analysis recently), and one of the things they pointed out was that the average depth of target for a slot receiver was 3.4 yards less than that of an outside receiver (13.2 to 9.8).

https://www.profootballfocus.com/news/pro-the-rise-of-the-nfl-slot-receiver

Like I said earlier, I wouldn't put Edelman in right now, just because he hasn't done it long enough. But even if he has 5 more great seasons, I don't think anyone who tries to compare him to outside receivers will put him in either, and I think that's a disservice to him and the position. Slot receivers can't average 17ypc like outside guys. It just isn't what the position calls for. Neither are going to be in the HOF, but should James Develin and James White be compared to each other because technically, both of them are "running backs."

Until folks recognize the slot receiver as a different position, it'll be hard, if not impossible for guys like Edelman or Welker to get in, which as of right now, is fine by me. But should it be that way? I don't think so. I think if some slot receiver comes along and dominates the position for 10 years and puts up 11,000 yards and 1,000 catches, they should have just as good a chance as an outside receiver who plays 10 years, and gets 16,000 yards on those same 1,000 catches.
 

rodderick

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I don't know. Should it? I think it should. Should the threshold for wins and strikeouts be lower for a relief pitcher versus a starting pitcher? IMO, the slot position is a completely different position than an outside wide receiver. I'm not alone in this regard either. PFF did a study on the rise of the slot receiver back in 2016 (I don't read them much anymore, so I can't say if they've done much analysis recently), and one of the things they pointed out was that the average depth of target for a slot receiver was 3.4 yards less than that of an outside receiver (13.2 to 9.8).

https://www.profootballfocus.com/news/pro-the-rise-of-the-nfl-slot-receiver

Like I said earlier, I wouldn't put Edelman in right now, just because he hasn't done it long enough. But even if he has 5 more great seasons, I don't think anyone who tries to compare him to outside receivers will put him in either, and I think that's a disservice to him and the position. Slot receivers can't average 17ypc like outside guys. It just isn't what the position calls for. Neither are going to be in the HOF, but should James Develin and James White be compared to each other because technically, both of them are "running backs."

Until folks recognize the slot receiver as a different position, it'll be hard, if not impossible for guys like Edelman or Welker to get in, which as of right now, is fine by me. But should it be that way? I don't think so. I think if some slot receiver comes along and dominates the position for 10 years and puts up 11,000 yards and 1,000 catches, they should have just as good a chance as an outside receiver who plays 10 years, and gets 16,000 yards on those same 1,000 catches.
The slot receiver has been targeted more than any other pass catcher in the Patriots offense since forever. The reliever x starting pitcher comparison is a severe overstatement. I'd understand it if Edelman were catching 110 balls for 1200 yards and 6 TDs per year (which is pretty much what Welker did with the Patriots, for instance), but he isn't all that special in the receptions department either. Low YPC isn't what's keeping him from the Hall.
 

Dehere

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FWIW, from an excellent source who is a HOF voter, a huge consideration in the Ty Law debate this year was the idea that the Brady/Belichick Pats are underrepresented in Canton. It’s possible that this idea was actually *decisive* in Law getting in.

This makes some sense to me. Ultimately some of these Pats may be graded on a bit of a curve. As a Pittsburgh fan, I would say that the 70s Steelers were also graded on a curve, and I have no problem with it. Truly dominant teams should put a shitload of players in the HOF.

I think Edelman should and will get in. The point about slot receivers being viewed differently is compelling and will get traction. Being a SB MVP, making the pivotal play in another SB, and being the preferred target of the GOAT QB is enough.
 

Devizier

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There are 43 wide receivers in the HOF.

Of those, only one player who was eligible (1951-) did not play in a single pro bowl, and that player (Bud Grant) was inducted as a coach. Moreover, only two players since the merger (1970-) were never named first team all-pro: Tim Brown and Andre Reed. Of course, those guys played forever, accrued massive career numbers and had 9 (Brown) and 7 (Reed) pro bowl appearances.

Michael Irvin is close to the median at the position by pro bowl appearances (5) and first team all pro selections (Irvin had 1, the median is 2).

It's hard to make the HOF, folks! Isaac Bruce is not in, Hines Ward is not in, Torry Holt is not in.
 

Al Zarilla

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There are 43 wide receivers in the HOF.

Of those, only one player who was eligible (1951-) did not play in a single pro bowl, and that player (Bud Grant) was inducted as a coach. Moreover, only two players since the merger (1970-) were never named first team all-pro: Tim Brown and Andre Reed. Of course, those guys played forever, accrued massive career numbers and had 9 (Brown) and 7 (Reed) pro bowl appearances.

Michael Irvin is close to the median at the position by pro bowl appearances (5) and first team all pro selections (Irvin had 1, the median is 2).

It's hard to make the HOF, folks! Isaac Bruce is not in, Hines Ward is not in, Torry Holt is not in.
Lynn Swann is currently 237th in career receiving yards, and he’s in, probably largely due to those picturesque super bowl catches. Heavy Pittsburgh team of the 70s weighting didn’t hurt either, as Dehere mentioned. Still, tough row to hoe for Jules, but he’s got the postseason magic to give him a chance.
 

Deathofthebambino

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The slot receiver has been targeted more than any other pass catcher in the Patriots offense since forever. The reliever x starting pitcher comparison is a severe overstatement. I'd understand it if Edelman were catching 110 balls for 1200 yards and 6 TDs per year (which is pretty much what Welker did with the Patriots, for instance), but he isn't all that special in the receptions department either. Low YPC isn't what's keeping him from the Hall.
I don't think it's a severe overstatement. It's a completely different position, just like a relief pitcher and a starting pitcher. Edelman shouldn't be compared to Larry Fitzgerald or Julio Jones or Mike Evans or OBJ. They don't play the same position (although Fitz is playing more out of the slot in the last couple years). He should be compared to guys like Jarvis Landry and Doug Baldwin and Welker and Randall Cobb. Those are the guys playing the slot. Honestly, slot receivers have more in common with tight ends than they do outside receivers.

As for Welker, he was far more durable in his time here than Edelman has been, which skews the numbers quite a bit, particularly the season stats. On a per game basis, Welker only averaged .8 receptions and 10ypg more than Edelman has to this point. Edelman actually gets into the end zone slightly more than Welker did (it takes him roughly 2 less receptions per td). The Patriots aren't the only ones targeting the slot a lot. The slot receivers around the NFL have been picking up more and more targets year after year, but I'm not sure why the Pats targeting the slot makes any difference anyway. They target the slot because they have one of the best slot receivers in football. When Edelman was out for the first four games this year, Brady wasn't throwing double digit targets at his replacements. He was throwing to James White and Gronk and Dorsett...

That said, Edelman isn't done yet. I don't really see anyone arguing that he'd be inducted if he retired tomorrow, but if he puts together another 300 receptions and 3,000 yards and remains one of the top slot receivers in the NFL, he should get serious consideration, with the post-season accomplishments probably putting him over the top. It's taking time for folks to recognize the slot as a new position, which is fine, but now that we know it's different, I don't think it's fair to continue using comparisons that aren't relevant. We know better now.
 

sheamonu

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I was solid!y in the "not in the HOF" camp until I considered the narrative here. Edelman cannot really be expected to have the career totals associated with a Tim Brown or other receivers because, for the first part of his career, he was simply not playing the position even at slot. He was signed as "football player" rather than as a particular position, and his HOF case is predicated on how dedication can create greatness, not pure number crunching. His is more akin to a special teams player's candidacy - just as Don Beebe or, perhaps Matthew Slater represents the worth of a given individual beyond pure counting numbers in a team game like football Edelman's career arc is a testament to what determination can achieve. In that context taking his postseason numbers into greater account, while discounting regular season honors or totals makes more sense. Is this a legitimate way to assess players for the HOF? I'm not sure. But it is the idea of a Julian Edelman type career, the whole "I don't know wtf to do with you, but you work too hard to cut you" story that even makes the idea of the HOF conceivable.
 

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Saw a good argument on twitter: if Eli is going to be in the HoF just because he won two rings (mostly thanks to guys named Tuck, Osi, Strahan, etc.) with an otherwise completely below average career, then you can’t eliminate Edelman based on regular season numbers.
 

TheoShmeo

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Saw a good argument on twitter: if Eli is going to be in the HoF just because he won two rings (mostly thanks to guys named Tuck, Osi, Strahan, etc.) with an otherwise completely below average career, then you can’t eliminate Edelman based on regular season numbers.
Good point.

But I’ve never understood the conventional wisdom around Eli. He’s been a B plus QB at times and has been well below that for several years. Why two SBs gets him to the HOF is beyond me. I guess he gets credit for withstanding the grueling insertion of a horse shoe up his ass on two separate occasions.
 

tims4wins

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Good point.

But I’ve never understood the conventional wisdom around Eli. He’s been a B plus QB at times and has been well below that for several years. Why two SBs gets him to the HOF is beyond me. I guess he gets credit for withstanding the grueling insertion of a horse shoe up his ass on two separate occasions.
Longevity has mattered. He’s never been hurt and has accumulated a lot of counting stars.

I don’t think he has ever been a top 5 QB in a single year and probably only had a few top 10 seasons. He is a completely average QB in this era.
 

Morgan's Magic Snowplow

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I don't think it's a severe overstatement. It's a completely different position, just like a relief pitcher and a starting pitcher. Edelman shouldn't be compared to Larry Fitzgerald or Julio Jones or Mike Evans or OBJ. They don't play the same position (although Fitz is playing more out of the slot in the last couple years). He should be compared to guys like Jarvis Landry and Doug Baldwin and Welker and Randall Cobb. Those are the guys playing the slot. Honestly, slot receivers have more in common with tight ends than they do outside receivers.

As for Welker, he was far more durable in his time here than Edelman has been, which skews the numbers quite a bit, particularly the season stats. On a per game basis, Welker only averaged .8 receptions and 10ypg more than Edelman has to this point. Edelman actually gets into the end zone slightly more than Welker did (it takes him roughly 2 less receptions per td). The Patriots aren't the only ones targeting the slot a lot. The slot receivers around the NFL have been picking up more and more targets year after year, but I'm not sure why the Pats targeting the slot makes any difference anyway. They target the slot because they have one of the best slot receivers in football. When Edelman was out for the first four games this year, Brady wasn't throwing double digit targets at his replacements. He was throwing to James White and Gronk and Dorsett...

That said, Edelman isn't done yet. I don't really see anyone arguing that he'd be inducted if he retired tomorrow, but if he puts together another 300 receptions and 3,000 yards and remains one of the top slot receivers in the NFL, he should get serious consideration, with the post-season accomplishments probably putting him over the top. It's taking time for folks to recognize the slot as a new position, which is fine, but now that we know it's different, I don't think it's fair to continue using comparisons that aren't relevant. We know better now.
I think the slot receiver argument has merit but we need to have some reference points for what career greatness constitutes at the position. That conversation probably starts with Charlie Joiner, who played out wide (in a pretty undistinguished way) before getting to San Diego but then really made his mark on the league playing out of the slot in the Air Coryell offense and was inducted into the Hall in 1996. Joiner had a long career, although not very productive in the first half, and ended up with 750 catches for 12146 yards and 65 TDs. I wouldn't say that Edelman needs to reach those numbers for HoF consideration (he won't) but it would help if he was roughly in the ballpark. If we take your 300/3000 hypothetical and add say 20 TDs, that brings Jules to around 800 catches, 8500 yards, and 50 TDs, plus an obviously much more impressive postseason resume. I think you can make the argument at that point that Joiner is the standard bearer and that Jules meets that standard.

From Edelman's standpoint, that probably means 2-3 more very productive years and then a couple decline years. It seems doable, especially if TB12 sticks around for 2-3 more.
 

NortheasternPJ

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If you took Wes Welker's career and blended it with Julian Edelman's playoff career you'd have a no doubt slot receiver in the HOF. As DoTB and other have said, if Edelman can grab some of the counting stats and some how play until he's 36-37, he'll be in.

To quote Edelman, he's Wes Welker except he made the catch in the Super Bowl. Now Super Bowls.
 

maufman

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Lynn Swann seems like the best comp — WR whose career numbers aren’t close to usual HOF benchmarks but got in nonetheless because he won four rings and a SB MVP.

Even by that standard, Edelman falls short. Despite playing in a less favorable era, Swann has similar career receiving yards and more receiving TDs in a similar number of games. Swann also made three Pro Bowls and one All-Pro team.

If Edelman racks up a couple thousand more yards and wins a 4th ring, he’ll get serious consideration. If not, I don’t see it.
 

Deathofthebambino

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I think the slot receiver argument has merit but we need to have some reference points for what career greatness constitutes at the position. That conversation probably starts with Charlie Joiner, who played out wide (in a pretty undistinguished way) before getting to San Diego but then really made his mark on the league playing out of the slot in the Air Coryell offense and was inducted into the Hall in 1996. Joiner had a long career, although not very productive in the first half, and ended up with 750 catches for 12146 yards and 65 TDs. I wouldn't say that Edelman needs to reach those numbers for HoF consideration (he won't) but it would help if he was roughly in the ballpark. If we take your 300/3000 hypothetical and add say 20 TDs, that brings Jules to around 800 catches, 8500 yards, and 50 TDs, plus an obviously much more impressive postseason resume. I think you can make the argument at that point that Joiner is the standard bearer and that Jules meets that standard.

From Edelman's standpoint, that probably means 2-3 more very productive years and then a couple decline years. It seems doable, especially if TB12 sticks around for 2-3 more.
Very well said. I agree completely. He's not there yet, but he could be. He'll never put up the numbers of a Julio Jones or a Larry Fitz or Randy Moss, but as long as the HOF voters don't think he should be compared to those guys, correctly IMO, he'll have a very strong case with a few more good seasons, especially if there is another strong post-season along the way.

I'll also say that there is a perception shift that needs to change, and it can be helped along by small things. We can't expect everyone to start reading advanced stats and learning the true differences between slot receivers and wide receivers. However, we don't refer to fullbacks as running backs anymore. When you look at the team roster, there is a distinction between FB and RB. I think it's time for the same types of distinctions to be made for SR and WR. If TV broadcasts started referring to guys like Edelman by their true position (and every time they showed his name, or Randall Cobb or Landry or Baldwin on the screen, their names were followed by SR, instead of WR), it can change the public outlook. Just little shifts like that will slowly change perceptions of the position, and the expectations of that position will change along with it, particularly from a statistical standpoint.
 

Devizier

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Good point.

But I’ve never understood the conventional wisdom around Eli.
Manning the Lesser has four pro bowls and is top ten in some important counting numbers (yards and touchdowns).

He's a marginal candidate but he isn't too far afield from Aikman, Bradshaw, and Kurt Warner.
 

Marciano490

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I’m pretty ambivalent about whether he gets in, but it’d be kind of absurd if the whole dynasty is represented on offense by just Tom. The team has been an offensive juggernaut at least for the second half of the run, and who else that’s primarily a Patriot is going to represent the team, especially at the skill positions?
 

bigq

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I’m pretty ambivalent about whether he gets in, but it’d be kind of absurd if the whole dynasty is represented on offense by just Tom. The team has been an offensive juggernaut at least for the second half of the run, and who else that’s primarily a Patriot is going to represent the team, especially at the skill positions?
Besides Tom and Gronk, no one.
 

Marciano490

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Then Tom and Bill deserve their own wings or they have to start letting a couple more Patriots in, because it’s absurd to have a team dominate the league for almost twenty years and have just the QB, coach, a TE and a couple defensive players represent the dynasty over that whole span.
 

johnmd20

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Then Tom and Bill deserve their own wings or they have to start letting a couple more Patriots in, because it’s absurd to have a team dominate the league for almost twenty years and have just the QB, coach, a TE and a couple defensive players represent the dynasty over that whole span.
But the thing the Patriots have always focused on is quality of depth, not studs at the skill positions. And Brady. And that works better than having Julio Jones or De'Andre Hopkins or Antonio Brown. If you spend your money on WRs, you have nothing to spend anywhere else.

I mean, Pittsburgh has Juju and Brown, both arguably top 5 receivers in the NFL, and they didn't make the playoffs. The Pats won the Super Bowl with Edelman and, um, Chris Hogan.
 

khalid1973

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Then Tom and Bill deserve their own wings or they have to start letting a couple more Patriots in, because it’s absurd to have a team dominate the league for almost twenty years and have just the QB, coach, a TE and a couple defensive players represent the dynasty over that whole span.
Moss?? Or is the thinking not enough time with the team to be thought of as a Patriot?
 

Super Nomario

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Mankins maybe? Only one AP All-Pro but two Sporting News All-Pros, seven Pro Bowl appearances, part of four 500-point teams, Belichick called him the best guard he ever coached, etc.

It is kind of weird because the team's best offensive seasons (2007 and 2010-2012) didn't result in Super Bowl victories, though two of these teams made the big game. The '14-'18 teams have had excellent offenses but not quite on that level.
 

bankshot1

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Longevity has mattered. He’s never been hurt and has accumulated a lot of counting stars.

I don’t think he has ever been a top 5 QB in a single year and probably only had a few top 10 seasons. He is a completely average QB in this era.
Opie is the "Don Sutton" of the NFL, a beneficiary of compiling counting stats over the years. Except Sutton was a better pitcher than Eli was a QB.
A few years ago, I checked Eli's stats in several categories year by year, (yards, TD, completion %, ints, ANY/A, Rating, etc) to double-check my impression of the guy and see how he stacked up against his peers. IIRC he on average ranked 9-14th in almost every category, except for one, he led the league in interceptions three-times. Eli is not a HoF QB, but he'll get in solely on his two horse-shoe aided 4th qtr comebacks in the SB.
 
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drleather2001

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I’m pretty ambivalent about whether he gets in, but it’d be kind of absurd if the whole dynasty is represented on offense by just Tom. The team has been an offensive juggernaut at least for the second half of the run, and who else that’s primarily a Patriot is going to represent the team, especially at the skill positions?
Yeah, but how many from the Steelers run from 2005-2010 on offense are getting in?

Bettis? Ok, but he was there for one year of the run and was shell of himself.
Rapist (blech)...probably.
Who else?
Hines Ward is a lock for "maybe".

Antonio Brown is excellent but he's no better than Torry Holt was and has no Championships to show for it, so barring another few years of 1300+ yards and a championship, probably not.

Sure, on defense James Harrison is getting in, no doubt. So is Polamalu, despite my conviction that he's terribly overrated and owes a large part of his fame to his hair. Joey Porter? Maybe. Farrior? Probably not.