– Wide receiver Danny Amendola has come a long way from being the player the Rams plucked for nothing off Philadelphia’s practice squad four years ago.
– Then, Amendola was a little known, diminutive wideout with eye popping college numbers who was unable to coerce teams to see past his lack of size and recognize his ability.
– Now, Amendola is going to be a New England Patriot after a tantalizing four-year run with the Rams in which he was often times dynamic but equally injured. Amendola agreed to a five-year contract with New England reported to be worth $31 million with $10 million guaranteed on Wednesday evening.
– In four seasons with the Rams, Amendola played in 42 games with 17 starts and posted 196 catches for 1,726 yards and seven touchdowns. His best year came in 2010 when he caught 85 balls for 689 yards and three touchdowns.
– Amendola and quarterback Sam Bradfrod developed chemistry in that first year but Amendola was unable to sustain his performance from that year because of persistent injury issues. He missed 15 and a half games in 2011 after he suffered an elbow injury in the opener against Philadelphia that eventually landed him on injured reserve.
– Last year, Amendola got off to his best start ever before he suffered a clavicle injury in week 5 against Arizona. After returning in week 10 against San Francisco with a big performance, he suffered a foot injury the following week against the Jets.
– Ultimately, the Rams would have liked to retain Amendola but weighing his value when healthy against his penchant for injury made him a bit of a risk. At 5-10, 188 pounds, Amendola’s fearless playing style makes him a joy to watch but it also can lead to some of the injury woes that have plagued him.
– When the Rams signed TE Jared Cook to a lucrative five-year deal on Wednesday, it essentially ended any hope of retaining Amendola, whom they valued at something closer to $4 million per season. Cook is listed as a tight end but for all intents and purposes, he’s an oversized slot receiver with overwhelming athletic potential and ability.
– With Amendola gone, Cook will likely fill the void in the slot and work in tandem with fellow TE Lance Kendricks to create favorable matchups. From a Rams’ perspective, filling the void Amendola leaves as a punt returner remains an issue moving forward.
– On a personal note, here’s to wishing Amendola the best. It was a pleasure watching him play. Pound for pound, you’d be hard pressed to find a tougher player in the league. Good luck in New England.
– The only other Rams free agent to receive a deal is CB Bradley Fletcher. Fletcher signed with Philadelphia on the opening day of free agency. Much like Amendola, his time in St. Louis was marked with stops and starts, flashing potential but also battling persistent injury issues. All the best to Fletcher in Philly as well.
– Cook’s introductory press conference is coming at 11 a.m. and will be broadcast live on stlouisrams.com.
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