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Julian Edelman, Patriots nearing contract extension

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The New England Patriots are closing in on keeping Julian Edelman from hitting the free-agent market next year.

NFL Network's Mike Garafolo reported Thursday that the Patriots and Edelman are moving toward a contract extension that should be completed in the next day or so, per sources informed of the situation.

Edelman was set to earn $3 million in base salary in 2017, entering the final year of his four-year deal signed in 2014.

The 31-year-old receiver is coming off his second 1,000-plus yard season in nine years with the Patriots. Not coincidently, both of those seasons came in the only years Edelman participated in a full 16-game slate. In 2016, Tom Brady's most reliable target snared 98 passes for 1,106 yards -- by far the most on the Pats -- and three touchdowns.

Edelman became the Super Bowl LI hero with a shoe-string catch to keep the Pats' furious comeback alive.

Entering 2017, the Patriots are loaded at receiver with Edelman, Brandin Cooks, Malcolm Mitchell, Chris Hogan, Danny Amendola and Andrew Hawkins currently making up the top of the depth chart.

Locking down Edelman now allows coach Bill Belichick to focus on other 2018 free-agents-to-be, including Jimmy Garoppolo, Nate Solder, et al.

UPDATE: The Patriots and Edelman have agreed to a multiyear contract extension, Garafolo reported, according to a person informed of the agreement between the sides.

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