New England Patriots

Danny Amendola looks on for the New England Patriots against the Philadelphia Eagles during the fourth quarter of Super Bowl LII. (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)

Danny Amendola looks on for the New England Patriots against the Philadelphia Eagles during the fourth quarter of Super Bowl LII. (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)

By Matt Dolloff, 985TheSportsHub.com

A former champion for the Patriots is heading back to the open market. The Miami Dolphins intend to release wide receiver Danny Amendola to make him an unrestricted free agent, according to Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network.

It’s a bit of an expected move for the Dolphins, who were reportedly planning for Amendola’s release last month. He costs the Dolphins nothing against the cap after receiving his $6 million guaranteed in 2018. Amendola caught 59 passes for 575 yards and a touchdown in 15 games in his only season with Miami.

The Athletic’s Jeff Howe reported from the Combine that Amendola would be open to returning to the Patriots. It should surprise no one that he’d like to go back where he played five seasons and won two out of three Super Bowls as one of Tom Brady’s key weapons. He rightfully earned the nickname “Danny Playoff Amendola” from teammate Rob Gronkowski after he made 11 catches for 112 yards in a 2017 divisional round win over the Tennessee Titans. Then he followed that up with two fourth-quarter touchdowns in the AFC Championship Game against Jacksonville and eight catches for 152 yards in Super Bowl LII, his last game played for the Pats.

Despite the Patriots winning Super Bowl LIII with dominant defense, the offense could have used Amendola in their 13-point effort.

Amendola could have complicated matters with candid comments he made to ESPN’s Mike Reiss last April. He notably remarked that Bill Belichick “hasn’t been known to pay his players, really” as an acknowledgment of what he expected in his contract talks with the Patriots.

He also referred to Belichick as being “an [a-hole] sometimes”. But placed in the proper context, Amendola credited the coach’s punishing approach for commanding his respect and making him a better player – and by extension, making the team a battle-tested Super Bowl contender every single season. Of course, Amendola is 5-for-5 in AFC Championship Game appearances as a Patriot.

“It wasn’t easy, and he’d be the first to admit, at the [Super Bowl] ring ceremony, that it wasn’t easy playing for him,” Amendola said. “The silver lining was that we were at the ring ceremony.”

Perhaps Belichick let those comments roll off his back. There’s always a chance that he looks at the 33-year-old and sees a player nearing the end of the line in the NFL. But at the end of the day, Amendola as proven as any receiver in Brady’s career and if he has anything left in the tank it would make sense to bring him back. It would be nice to enter the 2019 season with more than one receiver on the roster who has actually caught a pass from Brady.

Matt Dolloff is a digital producer for 985TheSportsHub.com. Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Have a news tip, question, or comment for Matt? Follow him on Twitter @mattdolloff or email him at matthew.dolloff@bbgi.com.