The New England Patriots entered this offseason with wide receiver being their greatest need after a Super Bowl loss in which their lack of playmakers on the outside was exposed.
With rumors that Danny Amendola could become a New England Patriot, many fans are probably thinking: "Danny Amendola? Okay, so...who's that?"
Amendola was the St. Louis Rams' leading receiver in 2010 prior to dislocating his elbow in the first game of last season landing on IR. In 2010, at 25 years of age, Amendola had 85 receptions for 689 yards that year predominantly playing as a slot receiver.
A slot receiver?
While the New England Patriots do indeed need a receiver, after franchise tagging Wes Welker, a slot receiver is definitely not what they need. Building receiving corps isn't a process of simply just finding the best players at the position, each receiver has to be brought in to fill a certain role unless you have receivers capable of doing multiple things.
In Amendola, the Patriots would essentially be signing another Welker type of receiver.
In fact, they would be signing Amendola in a way similar to how they acquired Welker. Prior to the 2007 season, Welker had a season for the Dolphins in which he had two less yards, 687, than Amendola had in 2010 and two fewer touchdowns. While he was known about like Amendola, Welker wasn't a household name in the NFL playing for the Dolphins.
After the 2006 season, Welker was franchise tagged at a second-round tender. Instead of signing him through the RFA process, the Patriots worked out a deal with the Dolphins to trade a second- and seventh-round pick in exchange for the receiver. Because Welker had not yet been a dominant possession receiver, the Dolphins were delighted to take the deal.
Amendola is now in a similar situation, as he would cost the Patriots a second-round pick if he were to sign on in Boston. A second-round pick, despite being late in the round, is a valuable piece to the Patriots who always value draft picks and also because there is depth at the wide receiver in the draft.
Presuming that the Patriots don't let Welker go, the value of their second-round pick is greater than adding Amendola.
Amendola is essentially a younger, unproven Welker coming off a serious injury. He is indeed a cheaper option for the team right now, but Welker should sign a new deal at some stage to ease the weight of the franchise tag.
Instead of signing Amendola and sacrificing a draft pick, a more prudent move for the Patriots would be to invest that pick in a speedster receiver in the draft or simply sign a better fitting free agent without giving up compensation.
Last year, the Patriots were missing the piece of their receiving jigsaw that would stretch the field and give the team some explosion on the outside. With Welker returning, they still have their primary possession receiver and Chad Ochocinco should be able to step into the role Deion Branch filled last year.
With those two receivers starting already, the Patriots would be better off unearthing a receiver to stretch the field to prevent safeties from crowding the middle of the field at the very least. Amendola doesn't do that.
Danny Amendola would not be a worthwhile second-round pick for the New England Patriots right now. However, he could be a better long-term option for the Patriots than Wes Welker.