That led many on Twitter to assume the New England Patriots would be interested in and potentially sign Nelson. It’s highly unlikely, however.
There’s a reason the Patriots weren’t willing to pay up for Amendola, who reportedly is signing a two-year, $12 million contract with the Dolphins with $8.25 million guaranteed. The Patriots don’t have a ton of salary cap room, and they’re already pretty deep at wide receiver.
Nelson, despite having been released, also likely will cost much more than Amendola, since he has the versatility to play outside and in the slot. Amendola is more of a role player with his position limited to the slot.
Nelson could be an upgrade over Chris Hogan next season, but it’s no guarantee. Nelson will be 33 years old and is coming off a 15-game season in which he had just 53 catches for 482 yards with six touchdowns. It didn’t help his 2017 campaign that Aaron Rodgers went down with an injury after just seven games, but it’s not as if Nelson was tearing it up in the first half of the season.
Hogan had 34 catches for 439 yards with five touchdowns in just nine games last season. Hogan also is only on the books for $3.3 million in 2018. Economically, it makes far more sense for Hogan to be the Patriots’ No. 3 receiver behind Julian Edelman and Brandin Cooks rather than Nelson. The Patriots already have decent depth behind their top three receivers in Kenny Britt, Phillip Dorsett and Malcolm Mitchell.
It’s far more likely that a receiver-needy team will be willing to pay up for Nelson. There are plenty of teams with heaps of cap room that are better equipped to take a risk on Nelson.
The Patriots would be far better off spending money on a cornerback, linebacker, left tackle or pass rusher than another receiver. Their current focus should be on trying to bring back starting left tackle Nate Solder, prying him away from other teams who reportedly are interested in him like the New York Giants, Houston Texans and Cleveland Browns.
Thumbnail photo via Jeff Hanisch/USA TODAY Sports Images