The St. Louis Rams have been hard at work trying to come to an agreement with their No. 1 wide receiver in 2012, Danny Amendola. The two sides are still reportedly “far apart” on a new deal that would keep the wide receiver from hitting the open market. The team could keep him from reaching free agency by using the franchise tag on him, but Amendola may just be too high risk for the team to go that route.
It’s easy to see why the team would be tempted to keep the wide receiver by any means necessary, though. Amendola led the team in receptions and targets, pulling in 63 receptions on 101 targets for 666 yards with 3 touchdowns. He caught eight more passes and was targeted 19 more times than second leading receiver Brandon Gibson…and he missed five games during the season with a shoulder injury. He was far and away the favorite option for Sam Bradford and was a consistent presence in the passing game when he was on the field.
But it’s the fact that he’s had trouble staying on the field that scares the Rams. According to Nick Wagoner of StLouisRams.com, the team is wary given Amendola’s injury history and the high price of the tag for a wide receiver ($10.357 million), to make that kind of commitment for next season. Whether or not that tidbit was leaked by someone in the front office to gain leverage in their negotiations at the upcoming NFL Combine remains to be seen, but the fact of the matter is that it is a lot of money for a player with a reputation of being “fragile.”
On the other hand, Amendola established himself as the go-to option for Bradford last year, and would be a big security blanket for him as he continued to develop as an NFL QB. The team will be motivated to get a deal done, but they are also determined to make sure it’s a deal that is good for the franchise in more ways than just on the field.
With less than a month before free agency begins, expect both sides to be working non-stop to get a deal done whether or not the franchise tag comes into play.