The Patriots have a philosophical question to answer this offseason when they address their wide receivers.

The position needs a dose of reinvigoration, especially with the Seahawks’ physically imposing defense in mind, and that will force them to evaluate Julian Edelman’s importance to the future of the offense. Edelman quickly emerged as an irreplaceable pass catcher last season, and his value would certainly be an asset if he’s re-signed, but the combination of his price tag and similar style to Danny Amendola might stunt the Pats’ growth as they work to improve.

So, before the Patriots hit free agency March 11, they’ve got to figure out what to do with Edelman, who would likely covet a deal similar to Amendola’s (five years and a max value of $31 million). But the Pats will probably prefer to keep Edelman for something similar to their offer to Wes Welker (two years, $10 million, plus a boatload of incentives). Considering Edelman has only earned about $3 million in his first five years in the NFL, it would be understandable if he’s loyal to the money this offseason.

Amendola is a separate issue, particularly after his only registration on the AFC Championship Game stat sheet was a drop. It would actually cost the Pats $225,000 to release Amendola in 2014, so he’s staying put until at least next year, when they’d save $2.1 million by cutting ties.

Now, it’s not a bad idea for the Pats to keep Edelman and Amendola for another season while also expecting second-year progression from Aaron Dobson, Kenbrell Thompkins and Josh Boyce, and hoping for health out of Rob Gronkowski. If the Pats do that, spend a top-two draft pick on another starting-caliber tight end and rework enough contracts (Vince Wilfork and Logan Mankins for example), they could add a free agent receiver from the bargain bin. But a year after missing on Lavelle Hawkins, Michael Jenkins and Donald Jones, that plan needs an alteration.

So, to draft or not to draft? Dobson’s 519 receiving yards were the most by a Pats rookie wideout in the Tom Brady era, and Dobson and Thompkins set the same standard with four touchdowns. But the Pats recognized typical inconsistencies from their rookies with performance and injury, so another project in 2014 might not get them over the hump.

If they do target a receiver in the first two rounds, bigger targets might fit the bill, such as Texas A&M’s Mike Evans (6-foot-5, 235 pounds), Florida State’s Kelvin Benjamin (6-5, 235), Penn State’s Allen Robinson (6-3, 210), Vanderbilt’s Jordan Matthews (6-3, 209), Fresno State’s Davante Adams (6-2, 216), Colorado’s Paul Richardson (6-1, 172), USC’s Marqise Lee (6-foot, 195) or LSU’s Jarvis Landry (6-foot, 195).

However, the Patriots have more immediate needs to fill in the early rounds, especially on the defensive line and at tight end. Unless Evans or Benjamin falls, it might be counterproductive to add another youngster to the mix, as it would actually put Thompkins and Boyce on the roster bubble.

That puts the Pats in play for a free agent, and last year’s upper-echelon group (Mike Wallace, Dwayne Bowe, Greg Jennings) earned between $9 million and $12 million in average annual value, and that might be Eric Decker this offseason. After Decker, the biggest names are Jeremy Maclin and Hakeem Nicks, but their value will be determined by their medical checks.

From there, an imperfect group includes Anquan Boldin, Golden Tate, Emmanuel Sanders, Nate Burleson, Riley Cooper, Kenny Britt and Brandon LaFell. And if the Pats moved on from Edelman, they could replace his special teams services with the likes of Jacoby Jones, Devin Hester, Dexter McCluster or Ted Ginn.