2013 NFL free agents: Danny Amendola among top receivers available

Otto Greule Jr

St. Louis's leading receiver over the last three years was cut from two practice squads before hooking up with the Rams. It appears the Rams will let Danny Amendola test the free agency market.

The comparisons between Danny Amendola and Wes Welker are impossible to avoid.

Same college (Texas Tech), similar size (Amendola is 5'10, 183, Welker, 5'9, 190), both tough slot receivers who hit unrestricted free agency in 2013 as the market looks to determine the true value of a productive slot receiver.

Amendola can't hold a candle to Welker's stats, but the fact Amendola is 27 and Welker is 31 makes the Rams' leading receiver over the last three seasons perhaps more likely of landing a longer deal.

In the time Amendola has been healthy, he's one of the better possession receivers in the game. That spot is being more and more occupied by thicker, more athletic receivers as the current trend of passing permeates the game, but there's a market for a player with 196 catches in 42 career games.

The league just isn't sure what that market is right now.

Welker played through the 2012 season with the franchise tag, and Minnesota's Percy Harvin is publicly displeased with his contract. There aren't many receivers who play the slot exclusively who put up the kinds of numbers those three have. In Amendola's case, he was undrafted in 2008, and bounced from the practice squads of the Eagles and Cowboys before ending up on the Rams.

He racked up 128 catches from 2009-10 in St. Louis, becoming a favored target of quarterback Sam Bradford. The team struggled offensively, and Amendola didn't have much by way of dynamic playmaking ability, but he lead the league with 2,364 all-purpose yards in 2010.

A gutty player with soft hands, Amendola was a big third-down target for the Rams, and despite a freakish clavicle injury in 2012, could still command a yearly average in the $5-6 million range.

The Rams appear contented to let Amendola explore the market, and it seems reasonable for a player who wasn't drafted and didn't get paid nearly as much as some of his statistically similar comparables did to want to get top dollar for his services. That said, Amendola could be an outstanding complimentary receiver in an efficient passing offense.

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