As I previously wrote, the New England Patriots need to improve their receiving corps. One question the Patriots need to answer is whether or not to re-sign Julian Edelman who is a free agent this offseason, and the other is if the team should cut Danny Amendola.
It seems most Patriots fans want Edelman back in New England. It’s difficult to get upset with that logic. Edelman, who is 27-years old, logged 105 catches for 1,056 yards with six touchdowns and did not miss any of the 18 games the Patriots played in 2013 while making the league minimum, $715,000. Edelman was the Patriots’ most productive receiver in 2013, and he filled the void Wes Welker left when he signed with the Denver Broncos as a free agent last offseason. Patriots QB Tom Brady has requested that the team re-sign Edelman which should be hard to ignore.
But should the Patriots really commit the type of money it will probably take to re-sign Edelman?
Last offseason the team signed Amendola to a five-year deal worth $28.5 million with $10 million guaranteed. Free agency begins on March 11 at 4 p.m. ET, and if Amendola is on the roster at that time, $2 million of his $3 million base salary for 2014 becomes guaranteed. If the Patriots outright cut Amendola, the Patriots would take a $4.8 million cap hit. Given the team’s cap situation and the other needs they have to address, I believe the Patriots cutting Amendola outright is unlikely. If the team designates Amendola a post-June 1 cut, that would mean Amendola would count $1.2 million against the cap in 2014 and $3.6 million in 2015. I don’t believe the Patriots should do that either.
The Patriots should keep Amendola on the roster for 2014 and not re-sign Edelman. He will cost the Patriots too much when they need a receiver that can stretch the field more like free agents Hakeem Nicks or Riley Cooper.
I know Amendola hasn’t performed exactly like the Patriots wanted when they signed him in the offseason, but let’s be honest: Was Amendola so bad that the Patriots should cut bait after only one year and have any of his salary count against the salary cap?
I know Amendola missed four games (you could make a case for a fifth based on this atrocious performance in the AFC Championship game) due to injuries, but when he was healthy he was productive. That’s also assuming Amendola ever got back to full strength after his groin injury. I think Amendola’s groin injury was worse than the Patriots or Amendola led us to believe and I don’t think he ever got back to full strength. Amendola started six games and played in 12 in 2013 with 54 receptions for 633 yards and two touchdowns; those are not horrible numbers.
Some people are saying that Amendola lost the trust of Brady. Are you kidding me? Who in the world started that nonsense? There are two reasons Amendola’s snap count seemed to be managed by the Patriots and neither has anything to do with losing the trust of Brady.
1. Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels hardly uses four-wide receiver formations, and that is the main way both Edelman and Amendola would be on the field together. Edelman got more of the snaps in 2013. If the Patriots can keep themselves from paying Edelman too much money in free agency, Amendola will get an opportunity to play more snaps.
2. Like I stated above, I don’t believe Amendola really ever recovered from his groin injury. The Patriots were most likely trying to do what they could to keep him as healthy as possible for critical games and situations down the stretch.
I know Amendola has his injury issues, but he did play in 12 games last season – Aaron Dobson and Kenbrell Thompkins each played in 11. Yes Amendola is slated to make $6 million in 2017 (final year of his contract), but that is a long time from now. He will only make $3 million next season and $4 million in 2015. Unless Amendola is just awful in 2014, he is worth those numbers as a very good No. 2 receiver.