Day 2 saw a lot of players making deals and a lot of shockers, but nothing was bigger than the drama between Wes Welker and the Patriots. Since the beginning of last season, the Patriots and Welker haven’t agreed on anything related to his contract. For the only player in history to have had 5 seasons with over 100 receptions (110+ receptions if you want to make it bigger), Welker feels he should be paid and treated with a lot more respect. A few contracts flew back and forth the rumor mill, from 4 years $32 million, to a low 2 year $10 million contract; we even heard the Broncos had proposed the veteran wide receiver a 4 year $35 million dollar contract, and then Welker went back to ask the Patriots if they could match it. They could not.
Welker left New England for the Denver Broncos and Peyton Manning for a fully guaranteed 2 year $12 million dollar contract. Not the contract anyone was expecting, but if you want to look at the glass half full, then at least it is a fully guaranteed contract. The Patriots however, wasted no time in signing his replacement. Wide receiver Danny Amendola from the Saint Louis Rams signed a 5 year, $31 million dollar contract, with just 10 million guaranteed. A quick turn of events that left Patriots fans little time to dwell of the departure of their best wide receiver. But how do these 2 receivers stand so far in numbers, but so similar in game? Can Amendola really do the things Welker has been doing for years? Will New England regret letting Welker walk?
Amendola is a great slot receiver just like Welker. Maybe the 2nd best slot receiver. He is also younger, taller, and faster than him. Welker, the 31 year old receiver, has been in the NFL for 10 years compared to Amendola, a 27 year old 4 year player. The thing that quickly comes to mind is durability. Since Welker took over as a wide receiver in Miami from the Returner position, he has missed a total of 3 games, whereas Danny Amendola has missed a total of 20 games in the past 2 years alone. Amendola had a great year filled with many expectations in 2012 but they were foiled by injuries. Out of the 11 games he played, he left 2 of them before halftime, and another one he spent on the sidelines hoping the coaches would let him back in. Amendola did not however have Tom Brady, or any other receivers taking pressure away from him. He was put in bad situations quite often, and the passes weren’t as amazing as the ones he is going to get from Brady. But can he put up the same numbers?
Amendola’s best 2 years came in 10′ and 12′ seasons. He played a combined 27 games, caught 148 passes on 224 targets for 1355 yards and 6 touchdowns, with 78 plays for first-down. Counting ONLY Welkers best season in New England, he played all 16 games and he caught 122 receptions on 173 targets with 1569 yards and 9 touchdowns, with 77 plays on first down. One lone 16 games season is SO much better than the 27 games Amendola played in 2 years. So what makes both these undrafted wide receivers from the same school, Texas Tech, so similar that a Championship team would not mind switching one for the other? Well, Welkers best year in Miami, on his 4th year in the league and his 2nd season as a wide receiver, had 67 catches on 100 targets for 687 and 1 touchdown, eerily similar to last seasons numbers from Amendola at 63 catches on 101 targets for 666 yards and 3 touchdowns. Maybe the change in quarterbacks is what helped Welker and will now help Amendola. The Biggest difference once again is the 16 games from Welker to the 11 games from Amendola (should be 9 if you considered he left 2 of them early with 1 catch only). However, for Amendola to have put those numbers in such few games, gives a lot of hope to Patriots fans, and shows how hard he works when he is available and ready to play.
Seems like the 2 best slot receivers come from the same school. And will now have played for the same team. Maybe they perform alike under the same circumstances. There will be a lot of expectation for Amendola to perform the same way Welker did obviously. The team is stacked with stars in Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez, who should open up the field for Amendola to use his deceiving speed and make those plays, specially the first down plays that they trusted Welker to complete. I am a big Amendola fan, I might not like the Patriots that much, but I am happy about the way his future is headed. I believe Amendola’s focus should be on staying healthy, if he made some big plays for the Rams, Jeff Fischer, and Sam Bradford, imagine what he will do for the Patriots, Bill Bellichick, and Tom Brady. A good 7 Receptions per game seems like a fair projection for a receiver like Amendola, lets just see if he is up to the task.