Not even hours after losing star slot receiver Wes Welker to the Denver Broncos over a $2 million difference per season, the New England Patriots have agreed to a deal with wide receiver Danny Amendola, to effectively replace Welker in Tom Brady’s arsenal of weapons.
Amendola is five years the junior of Wes Welker; however, Welker has been the more durable player. Amendola has missed 20 games over the last two seasons for the St. Louis Rams.
Still, Amendola is a player very much in the style of Welker: a short, quick, agile receiver that is difficult to cover, which makes him a deadly weapon in the slot. That is where Welker’s money is earned, only now he will be earning it in Denver.
Amendola signed a five-year, $31 million contract, with $10 million guaranteed. That works out to just over $6 million a season. Welker signed a two-year, $12 million deal with the Patriots, which pretty much sets the market for top-flight slot receivers in the general vicinity of $6 million. Welker reportedly turned down a two-year, $10 million offer from the Patriots.
Ian Rapoport reported for NFL.com that the New England Patriots had actually been in talks with Amendola since Friday when the period for speaking with free agents opened. This naturally suggests that the Patriots felt they had Amendola in their back pocket all along as a contingency plan should Welker balk at their contract offer.
This likely partially explains why the Patriots offered Welker a less than market value deal; it is perhaps possible that they truly preferred Amendola all along given Welker’s age. However, the experience of the latter is difficult to replace, and Amendola will have some major shoes to fill in New England.
In his six seasons with the Patriots, Wes Welker played in 93 games, starting 78. He totaled 672 receptions, including five seasons of over 100, taking those catches 7459 yards for 11.1 yards per catch. He also had 37 touchdowns. Perhaps Amendola could come close to that production, but the reality is that it remains to be seen.
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