Posted March 13, 2013

Danny Amendola to sign with New England Patriots

New England Patriots, NFL Free Agency, St. Louis Rams
Danny Amendola Patriots

Danny Amendola will try to replace Wes Welker as Tom Brady’s go-to weapon. (G. Newman Lowrance/AP)

The New England Patriots did not want to match the two-year, $12 million contract Wes Welker received from Denver. Instead, they opted to open the checkbook for a reported five-year, $31 million deal ($10 million guaranteed) for Danny Amendola.

Amendola will be Welker’s replacement in the slot in New England’s offense — a tall task, given that Welker made more catches than any other receiver over the past six seasons. The 27-year-old Amendola made a career-high 85 receptions in 2010 (though for just 689 yards) and had 63 grabs last season.

The biggest knock on Amendola is that he’s been unable to stay healthy. He missed all but one game two years ago and sat out five in 2012.

No matter how you slice it, though, this is a really interesting signing for the Patriots, given how Amendola’s price per year lines up pretty much with what Welker will make. The Patriots seemed to be trending toward a Welker-less universe early in 2012 — their hesitancy to give Welker the long-term contract that he wanted hinted that this day might be coming.

New England also reportedly reached out to Amendola fairly aggressively during the NFL’s three-day “legal tampering” window leading up to Tuesday. They were prepared to let Welker go, and Amendola was the No. 1 fallback option.

Amendola also has served as a kick and punt returner in the past, with great success. He actually led the league in kick-return yardage during his rookie season of 2008. Whether or not the Patriots will take the chance at letting Amendola take on those roles, as Welker often did, remains to be seen.

If this works out as the Patriots clearly believe it will, Amendola could be the NFL’s next big star. He plays aggressively and confidently out of the slot, and he can be more of a home-run threat than Welker.

It’s a new day in New England. Will the Patriots look back on this hectic swap as a stroke of genius or a massive mistake?

Grade: B. What a gamble this is for the Patriots. It looks like they could have easily kept Welker, had they wanted to, but opted for Amendola instead. He’s a high-ceiling guy who needs to prove he’s ready for this role.

14 comments
GiovaniSmith
GiovaniSmith like.author.displayName 1 Like

How about we all agree that no one except Bob Kraft, Bill Belichick and Wes Welker have any effin' idea about why things went down the way they did.

 

There is no single answer that clarifies the situation but there is a whole lot of misinformation flying around.

 

For example:

 

1. The first sentence of this article states that the Patriots did not want to match Denver's $12M / 2 year deal. This is essentially a stretch of the truth since Welker made $9.5M last year and stated very clearly that he did not want a pay cut. Two Pinocchios

 

2. Amendola will replace Welker. A very important reason that the Ravens won the SB is that they know how to defend against the Patriots pass. Welker-Gronk-Hernandez are all short, middle field ball catchers. Clog the middle and it gets much tougher to complete those passes. Most inside sources think that Amendola will play sideline and try to spread the field out. One Pinocchio.

 

3. Bill Belichick made this decision. The decision was made by Bob Kraft not Bill Belichick. If Kraft wanted to retain Welker, then Welker would still be a Patriot. One Pinocchio.

 

4. Amendola is more injury prone than Welker. Amendola has been hurt but Welker - since he runs across the middle - gets absolutely crushed every other time he catches the ball. This might explain the parabolic increase in dropped passes the past few years (he lead the league in 2012). If Welker continues to run slant patterns across the field, I will be very surprised if he makes it through 2013 uninjured. One Pinocchio.

 

I could continue but it would serve no purpose.

 

No one writing comments here at SI.com knows anything and that includes the author of this article.

psychprof
psychprof

 @GiovaniSmith you're a piece of work, dude.  you open with the pronouncement  that "no one except Bob Kraft, Bill Belichick and Wes Welker have any effin' idea" what transpired, but then in your third point claim:  "Bill Belichick made this decision. The decision was made by Bob Kraft not Bill Belichick."  so how many Pinochios do YOU get??

dan40
dan40

I think Welker was a problem child for Belichick. Welker was benched for the first series in a playoff game vs the Jets a game the Pats lost for comments he made about Rex Ryan and "footgate". Also the interview Welker gave when he said the stickin it in Bill`s face comment. Welker wore out his welcome with the coach. He is an awesome talent today the Patriots are not a better team without him tomorow who knows? Amendola is a good player only time will tell if he can become a great player! Welker was basically unheard of untill he became a Brady`s main target. I`m hoping for the same with Amendola!

A.F.Davis
A.F.Davis

Something must have happened internally with the organization regarding Welker.  He is clearly a better talent than Amendola.  Moreover, Welker and Brady, who re-structured his big money contract presumably to aid in re-signing Welker & Co., already have an established rapport on the field, which is something Amendola and Brady have yet to scratch the surface.  The biggest teller is the money, with Welker going to Denver for $6mil/yr and Amendola getting $5mil/yr from New Endgland, it spells out in bold faced letters that the Pats Front Office Brass or maybe Belicheck wanted Welker gone. 

 

In any case, the Broncos sign a great weapon for Peyton, Welker in the slot with Thomas and Decker on the Outside, dangerous, explosive, and formidable to defend.  The Pats lost Brady's security blanket for the majority of his career, and a "Welker-like" replacement, it might work out that Amendola actually is as good in this system as Welker was, heck, Welker was essentially a special-teamer when he signed with New England.  But only time will tell.

6marK6
6marK6

Amendola is very similar to Welker except that he is only about 1/4 as good.

bbc
bbc

 I would say he's 3/4 as good but is an injury waiting to happen.

FreddieFunStuff
FreddieFunStuff

How can this be rated without taking Welker into account? Overall isn't this an F?

bbc
bbc

A big risk for Pats as Amendola mostly gets injured and sits out.

jbh123
jbh123

 @bbc Oh, come on. That's a bit of an exaggeration. He's mostly performed exceptionally well, especially when you consider the (lack of) quality of the team surrounding him, where it often seemed he was the only receiver who could even get open - which was often over the middle. So he got pounded. Odds are that's one of the reasons he *got* injured in the first place. Look, there are no guarantees, but I wouldn't be surprised if Amendola does put up Welker-like numbers this year now that he'll be playing in an offense where he's not the only viable receiving option.