The New England Patriots are a franchise void of sentimentality. If a player doesn’t bring the kind of value his contract numbers says he should, he gets cut or traded. So heading into an interesting offseason for the exiting Super Bowl champions, Danny Amendola and Sebastian Vollmer could be looking for a new team very soon.
The problems and injuries in the Patriots offensive line forced them to move Vollmer, who has been with the team since 2009, to the left tackle position. He’s a very good right tackle, but an average, or maybe a bit more, left tackle. The result of not just his shift but other changes and overall ability in their offensive line was seen in the AFC championship game, as the Broncos, without blitzing, managed to sack Tom Brady four times, force two interceptions out of him and hit him an overall 23 times, more than any other quarterback has gone through this entire NFL season. His ankle injuries are also an issue, never really going away.
Vollmer has one more year left on his deal that comes with a $6.2 million cap hit. While Vollmer could obviously restructure his deal (maybe would like an extension with that), cutting him could save the Patriots $4 million of cap space, although trading him is always an option worth checking out, depending on what’s the market for him.
Amendola had a good season in 2015, his best in Patriots uniform, with 65 receptions, 648 yards and three touchdowns. Along with Julian Edelman, his ability in the slot to get free and provide a quick passing option for Tom Brady was probably the fuel behind the success of the team’s offense through the regular season, although the Broncos figured out a way to stop it for most of the AFC title game. He also missed two games with injury, and has just one season of 16 games played since 2010.
Amendola is signed through the 2017 season, including a $6.8 million cap hit in 2016 and $7.8 million in 2017. For someone who was signed on a five-year, $31 million contract, he hasn’t exactly lived up to it, although as the salary cap keeps rising, that kind of salary doesn’t seem too bad. The team could save about $4 million against the cap by releasing him this offseason, although, like with Vollmer, there’s always the possibility of taking a paycut or trading him.