New England Patriots Must Ponder Receiver Options After NFL Says No To Julian Edelman's Appeal

Ernest Shepard

The NFL has upheld Julian Edelman's suspension and their decision will place the New England Patriots in a bind. Now the Patriots are forced to ponder their options at wide receiver for the first four games of the NFL season.

The Patriots were informed that Julian Edelman was to serve a four-game suspension for violating the NFL's performance-enhancing drug policy, according to the Boston Globe. It was a failed drug test, but Edelman maintains that the league mishandled his sample. The Patriots' star receiver had missed all of last season with an ACL tear he suffered during a preseason game last summer.

Julian Edelman vowed to file an appeal for his four-game ban. Edelman followed through with the appeals process; however, the results were not to his or the Patriots' liking.

NESN is reporting that Julian Edelman's appeal was subsequently denied by the NFL. Due to Edelman having his suspension upheld, he will not be available for the first four games of the season.

The New England Patriots could use Julian Edelman or another quality wide receiver, as the Patriots' first four games are against tough opposition. Each team the Patriots will face without Julian Edelman have playoff aspirations.

Per usual, the Patriots will have quarterback Tom Brady to lead them if he stays healthy. He turns 41 in August and that can never go underestimated. Regardless, Brady needs wide receivers to get the football to since he will not have Julian Edelman available for the first quarter of the season.

The Patriots were already heading into training camp with mostly unproven wide receivers. Being without Julian Edelman for the beginning of the season will sting. At the very least, Edelman will be able to participate in all of the Patriots offseason programs and preseason. Once the regular season starts, the onus will be on someone else to stand out.

Chris Hogan did play well for the Patriots while Julian Edelman was on the mend. The former Buffalo Bills receiver did not develop much chemistry with Tom Brady until midway through last season. Hogan becomes the Patriots' No. 1 pass-catcher outside of Rob Gronkowski.

The New England Patriots did sign former castoffs Jordan Matthews and Kenny Britt. Perhaps one of them can step up in Julian Edelman's absence. If not, the Patriots may have to take a look into the free agent market for receiver help.

There is a thin crop of available wide receivers that the New England Patriots could choose from. One of those receivers that would be available is Dez Bryant.

Dez Bryant has been on the free agency market since the Dallas Cowboys released him on March 13, according to CBS News. It is remarkable that Bryant remains unsigned because he can help a lot of teams with his ability to make tough catches. Dez Bryant would be a strong option if the Patriots decided that they needed help at their thinnest position.

The New England Patriots can also opt to go into training camp as is. Barring a serious injury, this will likely be the case. Nevertheless, the Patriots, namely Tom Brady, were hoping to have Julian Edelman available at the start of the NFL season. Edelman having the appeal for his four-game suspension denied by the NFL was a huge blow for him, Brady, and the Patriots.