On the topic of Patriots WR Danny Amendola and his struggles in 2013:
“Danny’s not dissimilar to the rookies,” offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels said. “He wasn’t here before, and he had an opportunity to get a foundation and a system last year. And now it’s his second year, and it will be exciting to see Danny’s growth. Any time you’re in your second year in a system, you’re more comfortable. We’re excited to see what he does.”
If he doesn’t produce big numbers — think at least 80 catches, 800-plus yards, and a clean bill of health — then Amendola is all but gone after 2014, when he doesn’t have as much dead money left on a contract that runs through 2017.
The Patriots, smartly, aren’t trusting Amendola to be a featured piece of the offense this time around. They wouldn’t have given Edelman a $17 million contract with a $5 million signing bonus if they thought Amendola could stay healthy for at least 14 games and expertly work the slot for Brady. They wouldn’t have given free agent Brandon LaFell a $9 million contract with $3 million guaranteed if they thought Amendola could be a trusty No. 2 option.
Edelman, LaFell, Rob Gronkowski, and Shane Vereen will be the top options in the passing game entering the season. Dobson, the team’s tallest receiver who struggled with a foot injury but also flashed big-play potential, also will be in the mix once he returns from offseason surgery.
We are high on Edelman, who has seized the Wes Welker role in the offense and was rewarded with a nice contract in the offseason. Amendola will compete with the other wideouts on the roster for snaps and targets.