The New England Patriots signed Danny Amendola to a five-year, $28.5 million deal last offseason to help replace Wes Welker’s production, but it was long-time Patriots receiver Julian Edelman who caught 100 passes in 2013. A groin injury and concussion caused Amendola to play in 12 games last season, and he was still suffering from the ill-effects of his Week 1 groin injury throughout the season. His playing style leads to a high amount of injuries, but at least that red flag was taken care of in the structure of Amendola’s contract.
Even though his awful performance in the AFC Championship game left a sour taste in people’s mouths, I am a firm believer in Amendola going forward. He actually played very well last season when he was healthy, and those telling you otherwise are focusing too much on simple box score stats and injuries. For an extended argument in support of Amendola, please read this piece that I wrote at the end of January.
Anyway, it looks like the Patriots might feel very differently from me, as the Bleacher Report’s Dan Pompei reports that “NFL teams say” Amendola has been “floated” around in trade discussions early in the offseason. It’s unclear how strong these discussions are from the perspective of the Patriots and any interested team, but it looks like there’s a very real chance that Amendola could be a cap casualty just a year after signing a large contract with the team. Throughout his history, Bill Belichick has made it clear that he is willing to save as much money as possible by cutting ties with veterans, and this is especially true for players at the wide receiver position. While I would keep Amendola, his time in New England could very well be up.
Pompei also reports that there is still “speculation” that Amendola could even be cut this offseason, so this is something worth keeping a close eye on. I vehemently disagree with Pompei’s assertion that Amendola played better with the St. Louis Rams, because he averaged more yards per reception and had a significantly higher yards per target average last season with the Patriots (7.6) compared to his two full seasons in St. Louis (6.9 and 5.6 in 2012 and 2010 respectively). Amendola had better “counting” stats in those two seasons with the Rams, but counting stats are a poor way to evaluate QBs. He did benefit from having Tom Brady at QB, but Pompei’s argument is that Amendola was better with Sam Bradford throwing it to him; that’s not something I agree with.