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Why Would the Patriots Extend WR Keshawn Martin on a 2-Year Deal?

The New England Patriots acquired wide receiver Keshawn Martin from the Houston Texans on September 16th, right before the Patriots week 2 match-up against the Buffalo Bills. The Patriots sent a 2016 5th round pick in exchange for Martin and a 2016 6th round pick.

Martin was set to be a free agent at the end of the season, but the Patriots had different ideas. Nick Caserio and Bill Belichick signed Martin to a two-year extension for a shade under $3 million.

The average of $1.5 million per season ranks 71st in the league, or in other words solidifies Martin as an upper tier #3 receiver.

Martin is currently slated to earn the fourth highest average per season for New England receivers, behind Danny Amendola and Julian Edelman ($4.25 million, each) and Brandon LaFell ($3 million). Martin's contract could spell doom for Amendola. Here's why.

Edelman is under contract through the 2017 season and he's best friends with quarterback Tom Brady. His future is not in jeopardy. It should be noted that once Edelman went down with an injury, Martin went on to play over 90% of the remaining snaps alongside LaFell in Edelman's traditional Z role. Amendola, when healthy, remained in the slot.

LaFell, while is future might be in question, should not be threatened by the new deal for Martin. $3 million per season is pretty much the lowest a non-rookie contract receiver can earn, and is in line with the likes of Brian Hartline and Cecil Shorts III- players that pick up roughly 500 yards per season. While LaFell was a total disappointment this season, he still produced at a level comparable to those receiving similar par- and he did it in half the number of games.

Amendola, though, should be concerned. It's clear that he's not on the same level as Edelman when both are healthy, and Martin has been standing out as a punt returner in recent weeks. Amendola's base salary jumps to $5 million next season and $6 million in 2017. Amendola is definitely more talented than Martin, but the money is the bottom line and Keshawn is a much bigger bargain.

You'll be hard pressed to find a veteran receiver earning similar money to Martin over the next few seasons because they don't really exist. The only players in his price range are those still under their rookie contracts and the pure special teamers.

The Patriots will inevitably bring in another veteran wide receiver or two over the offseason to fight for roster spots with LaFell and Amendola, and New England would be happy if Martin wound up being the 4th receiver in the depth chart.

For now, Martin acts as Edelman insurance in case of injury, and can also take over special teams roles from Amendola.