New England Patriots wide receiver Julian Edelman is out to prove doubters that the team can succeed even without their long-time quarterback Tom Brady, who signed a two-year contract worth $50 million with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Edelman was the Patriots’ top receiver last season, catching 100 passes for 1,117 yards and six touchdowns from Brady. But with Brady gone, many are skeptical that Edelman would repeat such a performance, most especially if young quarterback Jarrett Stidham takes over the starting role.

But NFL Media’s Mike Giardi, per a report by Mike Cole of the New England Sports Network (NESN), said that Edelman is using that doubt on his ability as fuel and motivation as he prepares for next season.

“I was told, and this is a direct quote: Julian is Julian. He hates excuses. He hates to lose,” Giardi said, adding that the veteran wide receiver is out to prove that he’s not a product of Brady and the Patriots will be good without the veteran quarterback. Giardi added that other Patriots players have the same mindset as that of Edelman, saying they are out to prove that they would be okay without Brady.

Edelman, Stidham regularly working out

Earlier, NESN’s Dakota Randall reported that Edelman and Stidham are regularly seeing each other almost everyday in an effort to build chemistry ahead of the regular season. Mike Reiss of ESPN provided additional details, saying the two are training n Massachusetts.

It was also reported that Stidham and veteran Brian Hoyer, the other quarterback on the Patriots’ roster, are training together. In a previous interview, Giardi said the starting job is for Stidham to lose, but he expects head coach Bill Belichick to put the second-year player under intense pressure as he tries to earn the post vacated by Brady.

Long-term deal for Thuney nowhere in sight

The Patriots placed the franchise tag worth $14.78 million on guard Joe Thuney in March as they are optimistic that a long-term deal could be reached before the July 15 deadline. But now, no long-term deal for Thuney is in sight as Reiss reported that the guard might play under the franchise tag this season.

According to Reiss, per a report by Darren Hartwell of NBC Sports, there is an 80 percent chance that Thuney will play under the franchise tag. Reiss said that teams, not just the Patriots, are hesitant to sign players under the franchise tag to a long-term deal partly due to the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic. Reiss is right as none of the 14 players who were assigned the franchise tag have agreed to long-term deals this offseason. Thuney will have no problem playing under the franchise tag as IT makes him the second-highest paid guard in the NFL, according to Phil Perry of NBC Sports.