The annual speculation that Danny Amendola could be cut by the New England Patriots has sprung up again.
Talk of Amendola being released first started in spring 2014, when the receiver had been outproduced by Julian Edelman as quarterback Tom Brady’s favorite target. Nothing happened that offseason, and Amendola went on to catch just 27 passes for 200 yards and one touchdown that season.
So the talk perked up again last offseason, and Amendola agreed to a pay cut, shaving over $2.5 million off his salary cap hit, though the new contract didn’t touch his 2016 or 2017 salaries.
Now Amendola “could be” cut or traded this offseason, a source told ProFootballTalk on Wednesday night.
Amendola has cap hits of $6.8 million in 2016 and $7.87 million in 2017. PFT reports the Patriots likely would first ask the receiver to take another pay cut, and if he doesn’t agree to it, he could be on his way out of New England. The Patriots could free up over $4 million in cap room by moving on from Amendola.
Amendola caught 65 passes for 648 yards with three touchdowns in 2015, and while that production doesn’t match his current salary, he did prove to be valuable insurance when Edelman went down with a foot injury.
The Patriots added Chris Hogan in free agency and reportedly acquired tight end Martellus Bennett via trade, so targets could be spread thin in New England’s offense next season. And as the Patriots’ slot receiver, Amendola could see his production drop back down to 2014 levels as long as everyone stays healthy in front of him. If that’s the case, it’s hard to justify his $6.8 million cap hit.
Time will tell what the Patriots decide to do with Amendola, but if they let him go, they’ll need to add another trustworthy receiver through free agency or the draft. Edelman has missed nine games in the past two seasons, and the Patriots desperately missed their top receiver despite Amendola’s emergency fill-in in 2015.
Thumbnail photo via Mark J. Rebilas/USA TODAY Sports Images
Thumbnail photo via Jan 24, 2016; Denver, CO, USA; New England Patriots wide receiver Danny Amendola (80) against the Denver Broncos in the AFC Championship football game at Sports Authority Field at Mile High. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports