After the St. Louis Rams experienced one of their best seasons in recent memory in 2012, many people forgot about wide receiver Danny Amendola. This past season was the second consecutive year where the wideout missed a significant amount of time due to injury. For the Rams, they have to make a tough decision this offseason regarding the future of the now free agent receiver with their team. As of right now, the odds of him returning don’t look very favorable.
According to sources, Amendola and the team are “far apart” on a new contract. Often known as the poor man’s Wes Welker, Amendola thrives on the short to intermediate routes and butters his bread with yards after the catch. His ability to break tackles and make things happen in the open field is what makes him so valuable.
It’s easy to see why he will be sought after this offseason even though his supposed wealthier facsimile in Welker will be on the free agent market as well. Amendola is just 27 years old in the prime of his career and when he is on the field, his production has been impressive. In a Rams offense that doesn’t exactly put up monster numbers, Amendola accumulated 666 yards on 63 grabs this past year in just 11 games. That includes two games against the Arizona Cardinals where he was extremely limited playing just a handful of snaps.
The Rams have another receiver hitting the market this offseason as well in Brandon Gibson who was just as productive as Amendola this past season. At just 25 years of age, he is sure to command some serious dollars in free agency as well and the team is unlikely to bring him back.
What all of this means is that the Rams will likely be looking for help at the receiver spot again this offseason. They drafted both Brian Quick and Chris Givens last April and both will be expected to take on expanded roles in 2013. The primary problem for St. Louis is that they have limited salary cap space to make any moves in free agency so the draft may be their biggest weapon moving forward.
According to Head Coach Jeff Fisher, the impending departure of these two wideouts isn’t a problem as he said: “Not a concern whatsoever. There’s options out there. The free agent market, there’s options out there, and it’s a great draft for a receiver this year.” This will be an interesting situation to keep an eye on as the Rams also have running back Steven Jackson expected to void the final year of his deal and become a free agent.
For a team that underwent quite a makeover last offseason, this year seems to be hinting at much of the same. The Rams are continuing to get younger and that will mean more reliance on the NFL Draft than ever this coming April. At this point, it seems as though the team is ready to move on without Amendola in their locker room for 2013.