Twitter started buzzing about wide receiver Julian Edelman joining the Detroit Lions on Wednesday after Bill Simmons casually mentioned the possibility during an interview with Fox Sports radio host Colin Cowherd.
While discussing the future of the New England Patriots, following the departure of quarterback Tom Brady in free agency, Cowherd pitched a hypothesis that the team is stockpiling draft picks to make a bold trade up the board for draft Brady’s replacement in 2021.
“I’m not against it,” Simmons responded “Even Edelman, it seems like he might be heading to Detroit. Is that official?”
Although there was nothing out there about the rumor, Cowherd quickly affirmed what Simmons had said.
“Yes! It’s talked about,” the host said.
What? Where is it being talked about?
Maybe both Simmons and Cowherd share a source in either the Patriots or Lions organizations, but that seems unlikely. And on Twitter, the only mention before the interview aired came from a Twitter account called Patriots Militia, which has more than 90,000 followers.
The tweet read: “BREAKING. WR Julian Edelman has been signed by the Detroit Lions on a 2-year deal. Thanks for everything Jules.”
Here’s the problem. Edelman isn’t a free agent. He signed an extension with New England in 2019.
Second, what was the date yesterday? Don't worry about grabbing the calendar. It was April 1, also known as April Fools' Day. It seems probable Simmons got duped by the prank, then relayed bad information on Cowherd’s show.
On one level, the idea of Detroit making a play for Edelman makes some sense. The team has added several former Patriots, after all, and the veteran receiver could be another piece to help with the cultural overhaul coach Matt Patricia has been trying to implement the past couple years.
And the Patriots are clearly in the midst of their own overhaul after losing Brady. The team also saw Kyle Van Noy, Jamie Collins, Danny Shelton and Ted Karras via free agency, traded safety Duron Harmon to Detroit and released kicker Stephen Gostkowski.
But nothing else lines up. Because of the extension, Edelman has more than $5 million in dead money on his deal. That’s not the type of cap hit a team eats to make a player go away unless he’s a problem.
Second, the Lions don’t have a major need for another slot receiver after re-signing Danny Amendola this offseason.
It’s not like offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell has been champing at the bit to run more four-wide sets.
For now, we’re going to have to chalk this rumor up as baseless.