I’ll admit I’ve never been one to handle things like this well. For some reason, there are players you just get hooked on and others you don’t. Danny Amendola was one of those for me. This afternoon’s news about him signing a 2-year, $12 million deal with the Miami Dolphins was a gut punch, to say the least. Deep down, I knew that it would be next to impossible for the Patriots to give ‘Dola the money he deserves while also filling the other voids, but I held on to the hope of another pay cut.
Before we talk about the recent years, we have to go back all the way. Danny came into the league as an undrafted free agent, signing with the Dallas Cowboys in 2008. After being put on waivers and then resigned, the season was spent on the practice squad. Contracts expire and the cycle repeated itself with the Eagles the following season. It wasn’t until he was signed by the St. Louis Rams that Amendola saw the field. Injuries plagued his career which is why he never reached the heights of Wes Welker, but a great player nonetheless. The two had always been connected, playing at the same college, the same position, and now playing for the Patriots. Hours after Welker signed with Denver, the Pats announced they had signed Amendola who was supposed to be the replacement. Much like the rest of his career that didn’t go as planned. Julian Edelman swooped in and became Welker’s replacement leaving Amendola as somewhat of the understudy, but he made it work in his time with the Patriots. The divisional round game of the 2014 playoffs is where we all saw Amendola turn it on. After a pedestrian regular season, it was ‘Dola who showed up and helped lead New England to a fourth Super Bowl victory. That double pass in the double comeback against the Ravens will never be forgotten.
When Julian Edelman went down in a preseason game and was ruled out for the entirety of the 2017-2018 season, I knew it was time for Danny to really step up. My exact words:
In the absence of his best friend, Danny did just that. While his regular season stats are on the upper side of average (2 TD, 61 rec, 659 yards), we all know that the playoffs were his specialty. After all these years, the name “Playoff Amendola” finally started to catch on. In the 3 games the Patriots played this postseason, including the Super Bowl, Amendola went for 26 receptions on 33 targets, 348 yards, and two clutch touchdowns.
You might even be able to argue, and argue strongly, that without Amendola in his insane postseason form the Patriots might lose Super Bowls 49 and 51. Even now as I watch his highlights from the Super Bowl 51, it’s amazing to see how under the radar he went even though he made big-time catches on big time drives.
We all sort of knew this was going to happen though. Amendola even said in regards to the 2018 season that he doesn’t want to leave, but football is first and foremost a business. He deserves the money after all these years of showing out and continuing to take pay cuts, especially in what might be his last free-agent market of his career. It’s no surprise, but that doesn’t make it suck any less.
He was never the golden boy of the New England Patriots but he made his presence count; he’s as clutch as they come. Bill Belichick said it himself, “When you look up ‘good football player’ in the dictionary, his picture is right there beside it.”