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Analysis: Amendola in, per reports

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The Patriots have finally made a move in free agency, according to multiple media reports, by inking wide receiver Danny Amendola to a five-year, $31 million deal, $10 million of which is said to be guaranteed.

That amount averages to just over $6 million per season, the same amount Wes Welker is getting from his new team, the Denver Broncos. Apparently, New England felt that the oft-injured 27-year-old former Rams receiver is more deserving of a long-term contract than Welker, a player who has done nothing but catch 100 passes per year for the Patriots since his arrival in 2007 (the only year he didn't was 2010, when he had 86 after coming off ACL surgery).

It's interesting to note that Amendola's best statistical season for the Rams – 85 catches, also in 2010 – wasn't even as good as Welker's worst in New England (coincidentally, both players are also Texas Tech alums). Amendola has struggled to stay healthy in his four NFL seasons, appearing in 16 games just once – again in 2010.

Amendola will come to Foxborough now with almost unfair expectations, as he'll be seen as Welker's replacement and likely be forever compared to him. He has familiarity with New England's offense already, though, having worked briefly with offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels when McDaniels held that title in St. Louis. But Amendola was on injured reserve for nearly that entire season (2011), so, it remains to be seen just how effective he can be, even with Tom Brady throwing him the football.

I'm all for giving people the benefit of the doubt, which I'll certainly do for Amendola when he arrives at Gillette. However, at this point, it's difficult to fathom how Amendola-for-Welker is anything but a downgrade for the Patriots offense heading into 2013.

How do you feel about the signing of Danny Amendola over Wes Welker? Let us know with a comment below.

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