Considering WR contingency plan

ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter reports that the Patriots and receiver Julian Edelman were unable to come to an agreement, and Edelman plans to hit the market.

The sides have had open lines of communication up to this point.

Edelman, who is coming off a career-high 105-catch campaign, enters his sixth NFL season in 2014. The Patriots would like him to return, and Edelman has expressed a desire to as well, but the sides haven't been able to find a middle ground on a contract.

As for the Patriots' possible contingency plan, one free agent to keep an eye on is Emmanuel Sanders. The Patriots signed him to a restricted free-agent offer sheet last year, but the Steelers matched it.

Sanders is an unrestricted free agent who can sign with any team as of 4 p.m. ET.