Danny Amendola is set to hit free agency for the first time since coming to the Patriots in 2013, and it definitely sounds like New England’s director of player personnel wants him back.
Nick Caserio spoke at the MIT Sloan Analytics Conference on Saturday and heaped high praise on Amendola while discussing slot receivers with ESPN’s Jackie MacMullan on the “Put a Ring on It: Building a Champion” panel.
“The way the game is played inside the formation and the perimeter of the field are two totally different things,” Caserio said. “That’s been an important position in our offense, going back to Troy Brown, and then when we brought Wes (Welker) in … Julian (Edelman) is a combination player and the guy the past (few) years is ‘DA’, Amendola. He’s been as good, probably, as a slot receiver as we’ve had in our system.
“It’s an important position, an important player, and it’s similar to what we’re talking about with (third-down back) James White: A specific role, it can be a big role, a small role, and there is a cost associated with it.”
You can watch the full panel here.
Amendola took on a bigger role in 2017 with Edelman out with a torn ACL. He caught 61 passes for 659 yards with two touchdowns during the regular season then added 26 catches for 348 yards with two touchdowns in three postseason games. Amendola, who has a reputation for being injury prone, missed just one game in 2017.
Amendola is set to hit free agency March 14 if the Patriots can’t reach a contract extension with the receiver before that date. The Patriots and Amendola’s representatives could meet at this week’s NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis.
Caserio knows a thing or two about receivers. The front office executive coached wide receivers with the Patriots in 2007 before moving back to the personnel department the next season.