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2013 NFL free agents: Danny Amendola might have one less suitor

The price tag for the Rams receiver may drop thanks to Tom Brady.

Jim Rogash

By now, you've heard news of Tom Brady being canonized. He restructured his contract to help the Patriots free up salary cap space. One reason for that might be to give New England the flexibility to bring back wide receiver and slot guy extraordinaire Wes Welker. If that is the case, it could have implications for Danny Amendola's pending free agency.

From the Boston Globe on Tuesday:

There is a good deal of optimism on both sides that a three-year Welker extension will get done, but anything can happen.

Welker and Amendola are forever linked by being white, short and scrappy. Josh McDaniels, the Patriots offensive coordinator, knows both men thanks to his various coaching stops around the league. Amendola could have been a cheaper replacement for Welker.

If the Patriots do re-sign Welker, that takes away one of the most obvious, determined suitors for Amendola services. Think about it. They could get Amendola for $6 million per season rather than $10 million for Welker.

Of course, there will be other teams interested in a sure-handed receiver designed to make plays in the middle part of the middle part of the field. The Dolphins could certainly use him as well as few other receiver-needy teams. New England out of the picture doesn't necessarily mean it's a straight shot to bring him back to St. Louis, but it does remove one potential hurdle.

Or does it?

That same Globe piece notes that Amendola could still be useful to the Patriots plans even with Welker in the lineup next season.

Another option, if Welker returns, is to move Hernandez to the X, let Welker and Rob Gronkowski rule the middle of the field, and perhaps put money into the Z (quicker perimeter) position to get a strong short-area playmaker such as Percy Harvin (in a trade with Vikings) or Danny Amendola (Rams free agent). Julian Edelman should return to Z but with his injury history, he can't be relied upon to man that position himself.

Obviously, Percy Harvin is the dream scenario, and the two don't compare. However, we've seen Amendola working on the outside too, and with Welker's age, the Patriots might be smart to have him on board too.

The Rams and Amendola are still meeting to discuss the possibility of him sticking around in St. Louis. He is expected to make it to free agency, but that does not rule out the Rams re-signing him once he sees what the market will pay and whether or not opportunities outweigh his stated desire to play under the Arch.