High expectations were put on the then 27-year-old wide receiver Danny Amendola when he signed with the New England Patriots on a 5 year/$31 million contract to replace Wes Welker.
The move excited many but some felt he would be a disappointment because of his inability to stay on the field as consistently as the great receiver he was filling in for.
Sure enough, the Texas Tech alum sustained a groin injury in his debut against the Buffalo Bills and his role was permanently taken over by Julian Edelman.
In his tenure with the Patriots, he has disappointed in being the Welker replacement once envisioned. But he has not disappointed in being Amendola.
The former Ram, though supplanted, earned the trust of his quarterback Tom Brady and unlike Welker, he does the job he’s supposed to do in the biggest moments every time he is called upon.
In his second Super Bowl with the Patriots, Welker was thrown a pass that was a bit overthrown but catchable and dropped what would have most likely would have been the play to cement the win.
Welker finished his Patriots’ tenure 0-2 in the Super Bowl but the same can’t be said for Amendola.
As opposed to Welker, Amendola has been Brady’s bread and butter target in recent postseason memory with a touchdown in both Super Bowl victories.
Also making a play in the AFC Championship game that eerily resembles Welker’s bungled catch in Super Bowl XLVI.
If these plays weren’t enough, the numbers also tell the scary tale. In the four most recent postseason fourth-quarter comebacks, Brady has leaned on Amendola and it has, for the lack of better terms, worked.
When Brady goes to other receivers at this point in the game, he has totaled a six-touchdown to zero interception ratio with a 134.0 passer rating. Brady going to Amendola alone has generated a four-touchdown to zero interception ratio with a 140.2 passer rating.
Brady to Amendola this year mirrored Brady to Deion Branch in a scary way. In Super Bowl XXXIX, Branch tore the Eagles apart with 11 receptions for 133 yards and was awarded Super Bowl MVP.
Despite the Patriots falling short in Super Bowl LII, Amendola caught every catchable ball thrown his way and did not disappoint posting eight receptions for 152 yards, which was the second most receptions to tight end Rob Gronkowski and the most receiving yards by an individual player on both teams.
- Video Credit: NFL
Now comes a time in familiar territory for the wide receiver as he is set to hit free agency. Amendola has taken three pay cuts to stay and it’s up to him if he wants to take a fourth.
The Patriots are primed to have an even better team to make a run at redemption in Super Bowl LIII and retaining him will be a pivotal move for the depth at the position.
He was never the second coming Welker, and truthfully he never had to be. He has cultivated a legacy as Danny Amendola.