St. Louis Rams quarterback Sam Bradford is hardly the only player being counted on for a big season in 2012. Rebounding from a lost season will be crucial for Danny Amendola, not to mention how his season could impact Bradford's, as he prepares for free agency in 2013.
The Rams tendered Amendola at the second-round level this season, a tender that pays him $1.972 million this year. He turns 27 in November, a perfect alignment with his entrance into free agency.
Amendola's ability to catch the ball has never been in doubt. He caught almost 75 percent of the balls thrown to him in 2010. The knock on Amendola is his ability to do more than just catch the ball, to turn those catches into gains. He has his doubters, but the Rams' offensive limitations conspired against him that year. A unit more capable of getting mismatches and opening the field would help considerably.
A big 2012 could turn especially positive for Amendola the year after because of the situation in New England with Wes Welker. Tom Brady's top target over the years is playing this season under the franchise tag, and he isn't particularly thrilled with it. Along the way, the Patriots have made intimations that Welker's future with the team may not be a long one. What better way to replace Wes Welker than with the poor man's Wes Welker?
Remember, there were rumors of the Patriots being interested in Amendola early this spring. They never went anywhere, but if they want to replace Welker next year, that conversation could easily start again in the spring of 2013.