Danny Amendola: Patriots Failed to Replace Wes Welker by Signing Injury-Prone WR

Mike Moraitis@@michaelmoraitisAnalyst IMarch 14, 2013

FOXBORO, MA - JANUARY 13:  Wes Welker #83 of the New England Patriots runs with the ball against the Houston Texans during the 2013 AFC Divisional Playoffs game at Gillette Stadium on January 13, 2013 in Foxboro, Massachusetts.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
Elsa/Getty Images

The New England Patriots might believe signing Danny Amendola was the right move to replace the departed Wes Welker, but it isn't quite that easy.

Welker, of course, flew the coop for greener pastures when he signed a two-year, $12 million deal with the Denver Broncos, according to Adam Schefter of ESPN, per ESPN.com staff.

Shortly thereafter, the Pats agreed to terms with the former St. Louis Rams wide receiver on a five-year deal worth $31 million, also according to Adam Schefter, per ESPN.com staff.

On the surface, it looks like the Pats replaced their legendary slot receiver with one who is about as talented, but there's a huge problem— Amendola's injury history.

Amendola has missed a grand total of 20 games over the past two seasons with numerous different injuries. In 2011, Amendola didn't even make it out of the first game of the season before getting injured and missing the entire year.

In 2012, Amendola suffered an injury that forced him to miss the second month of the season and he later battled another injury towards the end of the year.

Clearly, this is a guy whose body doesn't stand up very well to big hits, and that's especially alarming considering he makes his living over the middle against cornerbacks and even bigger linebackers.

Now, that's not to say Amendola doesn't have the talent necessary to replace Welker, but it remains to be seen if Amendola can stay healthy. It'll be pretty difficult to produce what Welker used to if he can't stay on the field.

On top of that, Welker has a far more extensive resume than Amendola. Welker has broken the 1,000-yard mark through the air five times during his career as quarterback Tom Brady's No. 1 target, while Amendola has never broken the 1,000-yard mark.

The most puzzling thing about all of this is that the Patriots apparently weren't ready to pay Welker the same amount of money or more than the Broncos were.

That's hard to believe considering Denver didn't exactly pay a king's ransom to sign Welker, nor did it give him a ton of years on the deal. To this writer, the two-year deal Welker got from the Broncos should've been a no-brainer for the Patriots to match.

Instead, the Patriots decided not to give Welker that reasonable contract and will give Amendola at least $10 million guaranteed. That's just $2 million less than what Welker would have gotten over the span of two years, while Amendola is signed for five years that he may never even get through.

Based on his relationship with Brady and overall production in a Patriots uniform, New England didn't replace Welker, but rather put a non-secure Band-Aid over the hole he has left in the receiving corps with the oft-injured Amendola.