The New England Patriots restructured the contract of wide receiver Danny Amendola, likely ensuring the receiver is with the team for the next two seasons. The deal is for two years at $7.35 million, with an additional $750,000 in incentives, a sharp decline from the nearly $12 million he was slated to receive on his prior deal over that same time frame.
The contract is great for both parties as it ensures that quarterback Tom Brady will have one of his favorite wide receivers, offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels will retain a key slot receiver in the offensive scheme, and Amendola himself will have a solid contract that aligns with his actual production- meaning that he probably won't go through the same restructure next offseason.
The Patriots had been targeting slot receiver Sterling Shepard in the draft, but once the Giants selected him earlier in the second round, New England likely changed their sights to finalizing an adjustment with Amendola.
Amendola now joins Julian Edelman, Chris Hogan, and Malcolm Mitchell as locks to make the 2016 roster, while receiver Keshawn Martin received a $600,000 signing bonus for his two-year deal and is pretty close to a lock himself.
Hogan and Mitchell should play the X outside role for the Patriots, while Edelman and Martin are the Z flankers. Amedola remains the only slot receiver on the team, although the four other receivers can also fill in the role.
Veteran wide receiver Nate Washington is still an option to earn a roster spot, while Aaron Dobson's odds likely haven't changed (they're still bad). Young receivers like Chris Harper, 7th round pick Devin Lucien, and undrafted receiver De'Runnya Wilson are now on the outside of the roster, looking in.
With five receivers pretty locked into the roster, and with Matthew Slater a core special teams player, it seems like a long shot for the Patriots to carry an additional receiver. The only way that Washington, Dobson, or any other receiver will make the team will be if they prove to be indispensable during camp and during the preseason games.
But as it currently stands, Edelman, Amendola, Hogan, Martin, and Mitchell look to be the Patriots receiver depth chart.