When the New England Patriots watched Wes Welker walk away to Denver Broncos via free agency, they needed a replacement. The team signed Danny Amendola away from the St. Louis Rams to a five-year, $31 million contract expecting him to become Tom Brady's new favorite target on the field. However, injuries and inconsistencies made Amendola a non-factor for the entire season. With Aaron Dobson and Julian Edelman on the rise, the wide receiver could become a cap casualty in the offseason.
Amendola was a disappointment in his debut season with New England. He put up just 633 yards and two touchdowns while allowing young players to trump him in stats. However, his stats might not be the issue. His contract is what is working against him as the Patriots look to load up on talent in the offseason.
If Amendola is on the roster by 4 p.m. on March 11, the wide receiver will be owed $2 million of his $3 million based salary in 2014. It would cost the Patriots $4.8 million against the cap to simply outright cut him past the June 1 deadline. That would make him a $1.2 million charge in 2014 and a $3.6 million charge in 2015. The Patriots could use that saved money on remaining free agents who played well in 2013 aka Julian Edelman.
On top of Amendola's down stats, he might need offseason surgery would could make him unavailable at the start of 2014. The wide receiver will eventually need groin surgery after numerous injuries this year. NFL sources tell the Boston Herald that right now he is hoping rest and rehab can heal things, but if now surgery is the only option.
ESPNBoston.com reports that Patriots are more keen on developing Dobson and re-signing Edelman over keeping Amendola who failed to impress this year. Edelman is a free agent and will not come at a discount like he did last year. The wide receiver put up 105 catches this season on a contract worth less than a million dollars. Brady has already made it known he prefers Edelman to return, which will hurt Amendola.
Dobson had issues with injuries this season as well, but the Patriots remain hopeful that he could develop into a No. 1 receiver with more playing time under his belt. As a rookie he put up 42 catches in 12 games while showing great knowledge on the field and excellent footwork, two things Bill Belichick loves.
Could the Patriots give up on Amendola after just one season? His stats and contract do not help his case. After a down year for the Patriots, he could be the first to go.