With all the new offensive weapons the New England Patriots are adding, it’s not too out there to think about Danny Amendola and whether or not he’s become surplus to requirements.
The Patriots have traded with the Chicago Bears to add tight end Martellus Bennett and have also signed Chris Hogan. Their two most used part of the passing game are Julian Edelman and Rob Gronkowski. Amendola, 30, played in 14 games last season on a pass-heavy offense but was on the field to start just seven times. With 46.3 yards receiving per game, he was fifth on the team behind Gronkowski, Edelman, Brandon LaFell and Dion Lewis.
And there’s the contract. Bill Belichick doesn’t overlook these things. The Patriots never have too much cap space for big free agency splurges, but they always leave some room for a rainy day. And with Amendola looking like he’s dropping down the depth chart, his $6.8 million cap hit for next season seems mighty high.
Cutting him is one option, clearing $4 million in cap space. The Patriots have $14.1 million right now under the cap, so it’s an interesting question. The more likely approach will be trying to get Amendola to take a paycut or defer some of his salary into bonus money. He’s also signed for the 2017 season with a $7.8 million cap hit, the final on his five-year, $28.5 million contract he signed when he joined in 2013 from the Los Angeles Rams.
Amendola has been in the NFL for seven seasons. An injury prone slot receiver, he has never reached 700 receiving yards in one season, going past 600 four times, including 648 in 14 games last season, coming with three touchdowns, taking his career total up to 13. He played a part in the Patriots Super Bowl run following the 2014 season, catching two touchdown passes in the win over the Ravens and one in the Super Bowl against the Seahawks, a game the Patriots won.