St. Louis Rams wide receiver Danny Amendola may be headed for 2013 NFL free agency if the Rams cannot figure out his contract situation soon. Things don't look good for the consistently injured playmaker.
It's not that Amendola won't have an NFL home in 2013—he'll actually likely still be suiting up for the Rams each week.
The problem for Amendola is that his consistent injury woes will cost him financially in a big way.
Amendola is an electric talent who is clearly the No. 1 option on the St. Louis passing attack and Sam Bradford's favorite target.
In 2012 he's only appeared in eight games but has caught 51 passes for 576 yards and two touchdowns. If he had stayed healthy, those numbers would be astronomically higher.
After breaking his collarbone in Week 5 versus the Arizona Cardinals early this October, Amendola rushed back faster than anyone could have predicted. Quickly after he returned, Amendola ended up suffering a heel injury that placed him in a walking boot.
Amendola returned from the heel injury on Sunday against Arizona. He only managed to play in seven offensive snaps and was held out of the second half. He's now back in a walking boot and has missed all practices leading up to the Rams' Week 13 showdown with the San Francisco 49ers.
This string of injuries is the most recent example why the Rams, or any NFL team for that matter, are reluctant to ever pay Amendola big money. He's extremely productive on the field, but he's rarely on it.
At 27, Amendola is young and has all the upside to become an elite player. However, in four seasons, he's completed a 16-game schedule just once. There is absolutely no reason for an NFL team to pay him top dollar when taking that fact into consideration.
While Amendola said he wants to remain in St. Louis and wouldn't mind the franchise tag, the chances he receives the tag are slim. He's making about $2 million this year, which seems about right given his field time.
Slapping Amendola with the franchise tag would cost the Rams in the neighborhood of $10 million, so of course he wouldn't mind the tag. The sooner Amendola realizes that likely isn't going to happen, the sooner both sides can come to terms on a reasonable deal.
It's a frustrating situation for players to be in, but the NFL is a business. Had Amendola been healthy, he likely would have flirted with the 1,000-yard mark for the first time in his career and made himself an indispensable part of the offense in St. Louis.
At the end of the day, Amendola is going to get paid, and well. It just won't be the big numbers he deserves until he can prove he's shaken off the injury bug.