The St. Louis Rams will likely lose unrestricted free agent wide receiver Brandon Lloyd to the New England Patriots. Could the team also lose restricted free agent wide receiver Danny Amendola to Josh McDaniels' new team? Tom Curran of Comcast Sports New England suggests that very possibility.
The Patriots used the franchise tag to keep Wes Welker this year, at a cost close to $10 million. Welker is due for a big new contract, and the Patriots might not want to pay him that kind of money with other roster concerns and their general approach to not overpaying players.
Welker turns 31 in May. Amendola is just 26, and despite his elbow injury last year, has far fewer miles on his tires than Welker.
The Rams tendered Amendola at the second-round level. The Patriots, or any other team, could make him an offer which the Rams would then have the right to match. If the Rams choose not to, they get a second-round pick in return for letting the Poor Man's Wes Welker walk away to replace the Rich Man's Wes Welker, who is actually Wes Welker himself.
If New England were to make such a move, the Rams would be foolish not to take the pick, giving them three second-rounders this year and a heaping helping of leverage to move around in the draft. As for the Patriots, they could easily flip one of their first-round picks for additional picks elsewhere in the draft, and probably will anyway.
They also have a potential replacement for Amendola in Greg Salas, a player who looks to have a higher upside thanks to some ability to get yards after the catch.
Signing restricted free agents is a rarity.