I have a strongly worded opinion piece pending on what unfolded today, but I am going to let the dust settle before unleashing it upon PatriotsLife nation. For now, I am going to keep my cool and focus on Danny Amendola's career to this point, and evaluating what kind of replacement he could be for Wes Welker.
Weight: 188 pounds
College: Amendola played college football at Texas Tech, where he was a wide receiver and return specialist. While there he racked up 204 receptions for 2,246 yards and 15 touchdowns. On special teams, he returned 116 punts for 1,283 yards and one touchdown. His total punt return yardage ranked him third in school history behind Wes Welker and Tyrone Thurman.
|Amendola with Texas Tech in 2007|
Professional Career: Danny Amendola went undrafted in 2008 but was picked up by the Dallas Cowboys, where he spent a season on their practice squad. He would later spend time on the Eagles practice squad before being signed by the St. Louis Rams in September of 2009. Amendola would emerge as a talented receiver in St. Louis between then and now.
In his first year with the team, Amendola appeared in 14 games, starting 2, catching 43 balls for 326 yards and one touchdown. He also demonstrated value on the special teams squad, returning 66 kickoffs for 1,618 total yards, and 31 punts for 360 yards.
In 2010, Amendola's production nearly doubled in the receiving game, catching 86 balls for 689 yards and 3 touchdowns. 2010 was also the only season of Amendola's career in which he played in all 16 games (starting in 6 of them). He continued his strong play on special teams, returning 40 punts for 452 yards, and 50 kicks for 1,142 yards. 2010 was Amendola's most productive year to date; a year in which he led the league in all purpose yards.
|Danny Amendola led the league in all purpose yards in 2010|
In 2011, Amendola played under current Patriot's OC Josh McDaniels, but appeared in just one games in a season marred by injuries. He dislocated his elbow in the first season of the game, and injured his triceps when he returned from the original elbow injury. He appeared in just one game that year.
Last season, he appeared in 11 games, catching 62 balls for 686 yards and 3 touchdowns, before suffering a gruesome collarbone injury that according to some reports could have killed him, as the bone came extremely close to damaging his trachea and aorta.
And today, as we all know, Amendola signed a 5-year, 31 million dollar (10 guaranteed) deal with our hometown New England Patriots, hours after Wes Welker signed with the AFC rival Broncos, where he will play with Peyton Manning.
Amendola has not been nearly as productive in his career has Welker; but many are highlighting the fact that like Amendola, Welker was an unknown, unproven slot receiver when he arrived in New England. They are players with similar skill sets, but unlike Welker, Amendola's durability has been an issue, not to mention the immeasurable chemistry that existed between Brady and Welker. That is not something to be picked up overnight.
From a stats perspective, DA clearly has a lot to offer as a receiver and special teams player. Like it or not, he is going to be an integral part of the offense going forward. Again, a strongly worded opinion piece on this matter is coming.