Could the Patriots' first four weeks of the regular season without Julian Edelman serve as a kind of audition for Chris Hogan as he and the Pats discuss a contract extension?
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Jeff Howe of the Athletic reports that Hogan, in the final season of a three-year, $12 million deal, and the Patriots have had talks but the two sides remain far apart.
Chris Hogan and the Patriots have had negotiations regarding a contract extension, but the two sides remain a bit too far apart at the early stages of the process, per source. Doesn’t mean they can’t make up ground in the coming weeks. But again, the process is ongoing.— Jeff Howe (@jeffphowe) August 16, 2018
Edelman will serve a four-game suspension for testing positive for PEDs and won't return to the Pats until Week 5 after playing in the preseason. Howe theorizes that the team could be looking for Hogan to prove himself in Edelman's absence.
These negotiations could be tricky because the market for a No. 2 WR jumped to $8M annually last offseason. That $ would exceed Edelman’s value. Wouldn’t be surprised if the Patriots countered with something like, if you want it, prove it without Edelman in September.— Jeff Howe (@jeffphowe) August 16, 2018
Hogan, who turns 30 in October, caught 34 passes for 439 yards and five touchdowns last season, his second in New England, which was limited to nine regular-season and three playoff games by injuries.
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Edelman, special team veteran Matthew Slater and rookie Braxton Berrios are the Patriots receivers signed beyond this season. Hogan, Kenny Britt, Phillip Dorsett and recent acquisition Eric Decker are potential free-agent receivers.