Wes Welker may have skipped town for the Denver Broncos, but the Patriots wasted no time in signing his replacement, former Rams WR Danny Amendola.
Understandably, the knee-jerk reaction of New England fans is to wonder how the Pats could let Welker go because of a 2 million dollar difference, especially after Brady’s pay cut.
While it is hard to argue the fact that Brady and Welker have an established chemistry that has led to the most consistent QB-WR combo in the league over the last 5 or 6 years, Pats fans may not be mourning his absence very long.
The Patriots signed WR Danny Amendola for a reported 6 years and 31 million dollars (only 10 million is guaranteed though). By doing this, the Patriots not only replace an aging Welker (32 compared to Amendola who is 27), but also have a faster stronger version of #83 for the next 6 years.
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The only asterisk with Amendola though, is the injury bug. Amendola missed 5 games in 2013 after missing 15 in 2011. However, when healthy, Amendola has proved himself to be one of the best slot WR’s in the league.
As a matter of fact, despite playing less than 11 full games last year, Amendola averaged 5.7 catches per game, with a much lesser supporting cast than Wes Welker (including QB, other WR, TE, O-line, etc). Not to mention that Amendola was 2nd in the NFL in receptions in 2012 before going down with an injury.
In the end, how much of an improvement we will see in Amendola’s stats once Amendola establishes a relationship with Tom Brady remains to be seen. If Brady’s past is any reference though, Amendola is going to thrive in NE.
While it’s easy to see why fans will have reservations in seeing Welker leave (especially to another AFC powerhouse), there are just as many reasons to be optimistic.
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As I wrote a week ago in an open letter to Wes Welker, the Pats have always had other options besides… this move just confirms that.
Follow Cole Stevenson on twitter: @Cole_Stevenson