NEPD Staff Writer: Tony Santorsa
As Monday’s franchise tag deadline has come and gone, the New England Patriots elected not to tag any of their players—which means that they’ll hit the open market on March 12 if the two sides cannot come to an agreement on an extension.
What does this all mean? For starters, Wes Welker and the Patriots have yet to reach a contract agreement and there’s a legitimate chance that he tests the free agent market.
According to Mike Florio of ProFootballTalk.com, the Pats have a replacement in mind in Danny Amendola. Florio, who was a guest on The Dan Patrick Show on Tuesday morning, hinted that the Pats plan to sign Amendola next week.
“[The Patriots] need to work something out by next Tuesday,” Florio said. “The problem is they couldn’t franchise [Welker] because it would cost them $11.4 million to keep him around.
“The ace in the hole for the Patriots is Danny Amendola.”
Like Welker, Amendola was not tagged by his current team the St. Louis Rams and that he’ll likely end up hitting the open market.
Amendola, who will turn 28-years-old in November, has played just one full NFL regular season back in 2010 and has played a total of 42 games out of a possible 64. Furthermore, injuries are certainly a concern when it comes to Amendola.
During his full 16 game season back in 2010, Amendola recorded 85 receptions for 689 yards while scoring three touchdowns—which were all career-highs for the former Texas Tech product.
This past season with the Rams, Amendola played in 11 games while recording 63 receptions for 666 yards and three touchdowns.
There’s no question that Amendola can play—it’s just a matter of him staying healthy.
Assuming that if the Patriots do decide to let Welker walk, they’ll likely re-sign Julian Edelman and possibly pursue Amendola.
Granted, Welker is one of the NFL’s top slot-receivers, but having two solid slot-receivers on the roster, in Edelman and Amendola, New England then should be in good shape.
Following Tom Brady’s contract extension early last week, it was a common notion to assume that a Welker contract extension was in the fold—clearly, that has yet to time.
With Brady’s contract extension, he has freed up roughly $8 million in cap space this season and allowing Welker to walk and signing Amendola for a much lesser salary would most certainly give the Pats more flexibility in where they’d like to spend their money.
There are certainly pros and cons in moving on without Welker and signing Amendola, but it does make sense in a finical point-of-view. Amendola is much younger than Welker and he’ll come at a much cheaper price.
I’m not saying that New England needs to part ways with Welker, but if they do so, Amendola is probably the best option in replacing Welker’s 118 receptions and 1,354 yards from a year ago.
Your turn – should the Patriots target Danny Amendola regardless of whether Wes Welker is brought back?