Source: Patrick Smith/Getty Images
Just in time for Valentines Day, it's time to show Danny Amendola some love.
When Amendola signed a 5-year, $31 million contract with the Patriots in 2013, he was supposed to be the perfect replacement to Wes Welker.
Unfortunately for Danny and New England, Amendola hasn’t been able to stay healthy enough to make the impact he was supposed to when he originally signed here.
Amendola did take a huge pay cut to stay with the Patriots when he restructured his original contract back in 2015, and if he wants to remain with the team for the upcoming 2017 season, I’m almost positive that he is going to have to restructure again.
This season, Amendola’s cap hit was a very mediocre $2.89 million but for 2017 it jumps all the way to $7.71 million. The Patriots and Amendola both know that number has to come way down if #80 is going to be on the field for New England next year.
This season he was a little bit of a forgotten man in a very high-octane offense for the Patriots. With a dynamic backfield, a strong receiving core and two of the best tight ends in the league, Amendola somewhat fell down the depth chart.
What I think is so amazing about Amendola is the trust that Brady has in him. I feel like almost every catch Amendola makes is to move the chains on third down, a big fourth down conversion or for a big play in the red area.
With that being said, his ability to make plays on the biggest stages in the playoffs is what is so impressive about Danny.
Here’s a breakdown of his production in the regular season vs. post-season over his four seasons in New England:
2013: 12 games played, 54 receptions, 633 yards, 2 touchdowns
2014: 16 games played, 27 receptions, 200 yards, 1 touchdown
2015: 14 games played, 65 receptions, 648 yards, 3 touchdowns
2016: 12 games played, 23 receptions, 243 yards, 4 touchdowns
2013: 2 games played, 3 receptions, 77 yards, 0 touchdowns
2014: 3 games played, 11 receptions, 137 yards, 3 touchdowns
2015: 2 games played, 7 receptions 57 yards, 0 touchdowns
2016: 3 games played, 10 receptions, 90 yards, 1 touchdown
I want to highlight both the 2014 and 2016 seasons for Amendola. In both of those years during the regular season, Amendola didn’t do much of anything for the Patriots. He was on the field for roughly about 40% of the plays but for whatever reason, when he was out there he wasn’t getting the job done.
Now, take a look at his post-season numbers during the Super Bowl XLIX and LI runs. He came up absolutely huge for Brady when things weren’t always looking the best.
In Super Bowl XLIX against the Seahawks, Danny caught 5 passes for 48 yards and with New England down 24-14 in the fourth quarter, Amendola got the Patriots back in striking distance with a huge touchdown that they so desperately needed.
Fast forward to this year in Super Bowl LI against the Falcons. Amendola caught 8 passes on 11 targets for 78 yards. Of his 8 receptions, four of them went for 13 or more yards including a 17-yard catch and run on 4th and 3 late in the third quarter. In the fourth quarter with the Patriots down by a whopping 16 points midway through the quarter, Brady went back to Amendola in the red zone leading to another Super Bowl touchdown for #80. Lastly, with the entire season on the line and the Patriots needing a two point conversion to tie the score at 28 with under a minute remaining, Josh McDaniels called Amendola’s number once again with a quick screen to the left. Amendola caught the pass from Brady and fought off two Atlanta defenders to just inch over the goal line to tie up the game.
When you need him to make a play, he’s going to make it.
I’m not going to lie; I’ve never been the biggest fan of Amendola. I kind of considered him a middle of the pack receiver who was severely overpaid. But with all that being said, Amendola has been unbelievable in the post-season and I’ll go out on a limb saying that the Patriots would have lost BOTH of the last two Super Bowls if he wasn’t on the team.
It’s time to give the man the credit that he deserves. When the lights are brightest, Danny Amendola is going to show up. I really hope he’s back in Foxborough next year.