The Patriots have rewarded Julian Edelman for his hard work.

According to a source, Edelman has signed a two-year extension with the Patriots through 2021. This deal gives Edelman a well-deserved pay raise with $12 million in guaranteed money and an $8 million signing bonus, according to the source. The NFL Network was the first to report the news.

With Edelman’s 33rd birthday on Wednesday, this deal puts the receiver in position to end his career with the Patriots.

Edelman has gone from a college quarterback turned NFL receiver to a legitimate No. 1 receiver with the Patriots. Edelman has 499 career receptions and 5,390 career receiving yards. He’s finished with over 90 receptions in three seasons and over 1,000 receiving yards twice.

In 2018, after serving a four-game suspension for violating the NFL’s performance enhancing drug policy, Edelman served as a spark for the offense. In 12 games, he led the Patriots with 850 receiving yards on 74 receptions with six receiving touchdowns. Edelman also served as the Patriots punt returner, averaging 7.7 yards per return.

In three playoff games, he finished with 26 catches for 388 receiving yards. He was dominant in Super Bowl LIII, catching 10 of 12 passes for 142 yards. Edelman’s 115-career receptions and 1,412-career receiving yards in the playoffs are the second most all-time behind Jerry Rice.

With Rob Gronkowski retired, Edelman is invaluable to Tom Brady and the Patriots offense. He headlines a group of offensive weapons that have more questions than answers. This offseason, the Patriots spent a first-round pick on receiver N’Keal Harry and signed veterans Demaryius Thomas, Dontrelle Inman and Maurice Harris. The team also returns Phillip Dorsett along with several younger players like Braxton Berrios. At tight end, the Patriots brought in Ben Watson, Austin Seferian-Jenkins and Matt LaCosse.

It’s unknown how those new players will connect with Brady or how these depth charts with shake out. What is known is that Edelman will play another huge role in the Patriots offense and most likely be Brady’s No. 1 weapon.

Now, he’ll be paid like one.

Edelman’s deal is worth a maximum value of $18 million with bonuses and incentives. That’s a big financial bump for someone who was a bargain heading into this season.
Edelman was playing under a two-year, $11 million deal. He was set to make a base salary of $2 million and count a little over $5.4 million on the Patriots 2019 salary cap.

• Jared Veldheer, who signed with New England last week, has apparently opted for retirement instead.

The nine-year veteran offensive tackle informed the team he is retiring, according to Mike Reiss of ESPN.com, who cited a source Tuesday.

Veldheer, 31, signed with the Patriots eight days ago after spending last season with the Denver Broncos. He reportedly signed a one-year deal with a $3.5 million base agreement with incentives to reach $6.5 million.

He was considered a candidate to start on either tackle position given the Patriots’ lack of depth on both sides.

Last season, the 6-foot-8, 321-pound Veldheer missed the final three games with a knee injury. In the past two seasons, he’s dealt with a number other injuries as well, including an ankle in 2017 and a concussion.

Before last season, Veldheer had been with the Arizona Cardinals for four seasons after signing a five-year, $35 million contract in March 2014. He was traded to Denver for a sixth-round pick.

He was drafted in the third round by the Oakland Raiders in 2010 and quickly became a starter. Overall, he appeared in 118 games (113 starts), mostly at left tackle.

OWNERS: NFL owners, meeting Wednesday, will consider a proposal to refine the new rule that allows challenges involving pass interference, and may also announce locations to host upcoming drafts.

Owners voted in March to allow interference calls or non-calls to be challenged by coaches and reviewed via replay as a one-year experiment.

The tweak proposed this week would take the decision to review pass interference in the final two minutes of each half out of the hands of the officials. Reviews in the final two minutes would require a coach’s challenge, too.

Under the rule adopted in March, in the final two minutes only officials in the booth can stop the game for reviews involving pass interference, as is the case with other reviewable plays.

SEAHAWKS: Bobby Wagner will be present for Seattle’s optional offseason activities.

Just don’t expect him to take part.

That was the message from the All-Pro middle linebacker Tuesday as Seattle continued the first week of organized team activities. Wagner’s contract is up after next season and he indicated there had been preliminary talks regarding a new deal.

BUCCANEERS: Tampa Bay released the six-time Pro Bowl defensive tackle, describing the move as a mutual agreement after nine seasons.

McCoy, the third overall pick in the 2010 NFL draft, was due to make $13 million next season, but none of it was guaranteed.

Coach Bruce Arians did not want to talk about the decision following one of the club’s OTA workouts Tuesday, saying he had wished McCoy well in a statement released by the Bucs, and that “there’s no need for answering questions about that.”

BILLS: Buffalo signed top pass rusher Jerry Hughes to a two-year contract extension Tuesday that will keep the defensive end in Buffalo through 2021. Hughes’ contract was set to expire after the upcoming season.

A person with direct knowledge of the contract told The Associated Press that Hughes will be guaranteed about $19 million, and could make as much as $23 million should he meet all the incentives. The person spoke on the condition of anonymity because the Bills did not release the contract’s value.