New England Patriots wide receiver Julian Edelman was carted off the field on Friday night after suffering a non-contact knee injury during the team’s preseason game against the Detroit Lions.

When you see those highlights, you immediately fear a torn ACL, and the Patriots believe that is indeed the case according to Adam Schefter and Ian Rapoport:

Edelman would obviously be a big loss for the Patriots’ offense. The veteran has been a go-to possession receiver for Tom Brady, putting together a 98-reception, 1,106-yard, three-touchdown line for the world champs in 2016. Edleman has 425 receptions over his eight-year NFL career (all with New England).

However, the Patriots’ offense should still be able to be just fine (and likely much more than “fine”). For example, they acquired star wide receiver Brandin Cooks in a trade with the Saints over the offseason.

They had Chris Hogan step up as a key contributor in 2016, and he and Brady connected for a pair of touchdowns after Edelman left the game on Friday night (get ready for Hogan to skyrocket up fantasy football draft rankings).

And then there’s the return of Rob Gronkowski, who only played in eight games for the Patriots in 2016 (and zero postseason games) due to a back injury.

The Patriots are going to be the NFL’s team to beat in 2017, with our without Edelman. But this injury obviously sucks for him, and is just another example of the risk outweighing the reward for proven players — especially skill position players — in the preseason.

Kansas City Chiefs potential starting running back Spencer Ware also was carted off with a knee injury on Friday night.

There’s just so little to gain for these veteran players by getting snaps in meaningless games, and so much to lose.

About Matt Clapp

Matt is an editor at The Comeback. He attended Colorado State University, wishes he was Saved by the Bell's Zack Morris, and idolizes Larry David. And loves pizza and dogs because obviously.

He can be followed on Twitter at @Matt2Clapp (also @TheBlogfines for Cubs/MLB tweets and @DaBearNecess for Bears/NFL tweets), and can be reached by email at mclapp@thecomeback.com.