Now in his fourth season with the Rams, Amendola is once again proving just how important he is to the offense in St. Louis. While he has missed time thanks to a collarbone injury, Amendola has become the favorite target of quarterback Sam Bradford yet again.
So far in 2012, Amendola has caught 51 passes for 576 yards and two scores. He's averaging 11.3 yards per catch and has five or more catches in six games this season. Considering he's only appeared in eight games, he playing great as the No. 1 option in the passing attack.
With free agency looming, Amendola made it 100 percent clear to ProFootballTalk that he wants to be in St. Louis in 2013 and beyond:
“I want to stay in St. Louis, this is my home, this is where I have everything...I love St. Louis; I want to be here. I understand that the business aspect may take guys away from where they want to be and it’s some thing to look forward to and it’s gonna be an interesting outcome I’m sure.”
Of course, Amendola mentions in the same interview that he wouldn't mind a franchise tag next offseason. Anyone in their right mind wouldn't mind going from a $2 million to $10 million yearly salary in the span of one year, but it's up in the air as to whether the Rams organization feels he is worth that much.
Amendola is an outstanding player in his own right, but he's a serious injury risk. He's battled a variety of injures throughout his career and only appeared in 39 of a potential 64 contests in his four-year career.
If he hits the open market after not agreeing to terms with the Rams, Amendola might not find a substantial amount of money given his checkered injury past. His best bet financially would be remaining in St. Louis.
Amendola doesn't sound like the type of person to concern himself over the financial side of things, but he could have the Rams right where he wants them.
The Rams don't exactly have another offensive threat outside of Amendola. He's the team's leading receiver despite missing time, so losing him would be a crucial blow to the future of the franchise. If he doesn't like what the Rams are offering, a franchise tag could be in the cards.
St. Louis seemingly has bigger fish to fry. The Rams are horrid along the offensive line, which is part of the reason Bradford never has time to get Amendola the ball. Still, Amendola is the most important free agent the Rams have hitting the market this season outside of corner Bradley Fletcher.
When all is said and done, it appears Amendola needs and wants the Rams, and St. Louis desperately wants Amendola.
Amendola hitting the the open market during free agency is a non-story. Both sides want to make it work, and they will. Amendola's price tag goes up with every game, but the Rams will more than likely pay any cost to retain him.