Danny Amendola will not be back for a sixth season with the New England Patriots.
The veteran slot receiver is expected to sign with the Miami Dolphins, one of New England’s AFC East rivals, once NFL free agency begins Wednesday afternoon, a source told Dan Hellie of NFL Media.
Amendola’s new contract will be a two-year, $12 million deal with $8.25 million guaranteed, a source told Peter Schrager of NFL Media and FOX Sports. That’s a significant raise for the 32-year-old, who made just $1.7 million in salary in 2017.
Amendola, who took pay cuts in each of the past three offseasons to remain with the Patriots, is coming off one of the best seasons of his career. He caught 61 passes on 86 targets for 659 yards and two touchdowns during the regular season, often serving as quarterback Tom Brady’s go-to guy on third and fourth down. His 70.1 percent catch rate was the fifth-best among all NFL receivers.
Amendola followed that up with a stellar postseason performance. He was the Patriots’ best offensive player outside of Brady during their three-game playoff run, catching 26 passes on 33 targets for 348 yards and two touchdowns.
His two late touchdown catches helped the Patriots complete their comeback against the Jacksonville Jaguars in the AFC Championship Game, and his 152 yards on eight catches in New England’s Super Bowl LII loss to the Philadelphia Eagles led all receivers. Amendola had 11 catches on 13 targets for 112 yards in a divisional-round rout of the Tennessee Titans.
Amendola also served as New England’s top punt returner after Julian Edelman and Cyrus Jones both suffered torn ACLs during the preseason.
In Miami, Amendola will replace slot receiver Jarvis Landry, whom the Dolphins agreed to trade to the Cleveland Browns last week. Though his departure hurts the Patriots, New England remains deep at wideout, with Edelman, Brandin Cooks, Chris Hogan, Malcolm Mitchell, Kenny Britt, Phillip Dorsett, Riley McCarron and Cody Hollister all under contract entering the 2018 season.
Amendola began his career as an undrafted free agent in 2008, spending time with the Dallas Cowboys and Philadelphia Eagles before latching on with the St. Louis Rams in 2009. He spent four seasons in St. Louis — including a career-best 85-catch campaign in 2010 — before signing a five-year, $28.5 million contract with the Patriots in 2013.