It appears Danny Amendola’s five memorable seasons with the Patriots are over.
The blood-and-guts wideout who caught 54 passes for six touchdowns in 11 playoff games with the Patriots since 2014 is signing with Miami.
That news was first reported by NFL Network’s Dan Hellie and has since been confirmed by Armando Salguero of the Miami Herald. According to FoxSports.com's and Good Morning Football's Peter Schrager, it's a two-year, $12 million deal with $8.25 million guaranteed.
I called Amendola’s cell. Reception was horrendous. He said he was in the Bahamas and would call back. I’ll keep you posted on that. To be honest, tears may be shed.
Amendola came to the Patriots in 2013 when Wes Welker made it clear he wanted to test the free agent market. Amendola, who coveted the chance to play for New England, agreed to a deal with the Patriots before Welker realized his market wasn’t what he imagined. When Welker tried to return, the Patriots had to rebuff him.
An injury-marred 2013 season that saw Amendola rip both groin muscles in the season opener was followed by a 2014 season in which Amendola couldn’t get enmeshed in the offense. He had just 27 regular-season catches. But in that year's Super Bowl run, Amendola had 11 catches for 137 yards and three scores.
That kicked off a three-season run in which he became one of the most beloved Patriots. Amendola repeatedly took pay cuts to stick with New England. But with his 33rd birthday approaching in November, the Patriots reportedly didn’t want to extend themselves to keep him around.
Amendola’s loss won’t just be felt on offense (and in the locker room and practice field). His punt return contributions were huge -- he returned 85 over the past four seasons and became the guy to take on the job after Cyrus Jones blew his ACL in training camp in 2017.
After the AFC Championship Game win over Jacksonville in which Amendola had seven catches for 84 yards and two touchdowns (a week after having 11 for 112 against Tennessee in the Divisional Round), Patriots head coach Bill Belichick said, "Danny's a tremendous competitor, made some big plays for us. I thought, as usual, he handled the punts great, and he had the last punt return that really set us up for the final touchdown.
"Danny's such a good football player. When you look up ‘good football player’ in the dictionary his picture is right there beside it. It doesn’t matter what it is. Fielding punts, third down, big play, red area, onside kick recovery -- whatever we need him to do. He’s just a tremendous player, very instinctive, tough, great concentration. He had some big plays for us today."
The big plays will be happening for the Dolphins now.