More and more every season, the NFL continues to shift towards being a young man’s game.
Take Patrick Mahomes for example, who led his team to the AFC Championship Game at 24 years old.
Then there’s Tom Brady and the New England Patriots, who have some of the best veteran talent in the league. And, of course, it was Brady and the Pats who topped the Kansas City Chiefs in that aforementioned AFC title game.
ESPN’s Kyle Seifert mapped out the best player at every age in the NFL, and the Patriots had three players pop up on the list. Two of them are in their 30s. Then, there is Tom Brady, who will turn 42 before he takes his first snap next season.
Julian Edelman took home the best 33-year-old in the league.
“It’s worth noting that the Patriots made a big play for free-agent slot receiver Adam Humphries, who presumably would have taken a chunk of Edelman’s reps and perhaps his job, but he signed with the Titans, leaving Edelman to continue playing in a scheme that favors the slot receiver and with a quarterback who loves throwing to him. Edelman had 850 receiving yards last season, and he figures to be a big part of the Pats’ aerial attack this season.”
The best 39-year-old? Well, that honor belongs to Benjamin Watson. (No other rostered player in the league will turn 39 before the end of the season.)
“When a player tears his Achilles tendon at age 36, as Watson did in 2016, his career usually ends. But in this case, Watson went on to catch 96 passes without missing a game over the following two seasons. After signing a one-year contract with the Patriots, he’ll be part of the group that tries to compensate for the retirement of Rob Gronkowski — who is nine years younger. Assuming he makes the team, Watson will be the oldest tight end ever to play in a regular-season game. (That doesn’t count tight ends who became pure long-snappers later in their careers.)”