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Patriots Sign Amendola To Five-Year Deal; Can He Replace Welker?
As ESPN's Adam Schefter first reported, the Patriots reach agreement in principle on five-year deal with former Rams wideout Danny Amendola. According to NFL Network's Ian Rapoport, Amendola's deal is worth $31 million.

The agreement comes just hours after Wes Welker, the most productive receiver in the NFL over the last six years, agreed to a two-year, $12 million deal with the Broncos.

Amendola's new deal also includes $10 million guaranteed. The Patriots had offered Welker $10 million over two years.

As's Gregg Rosenthal suggested, it's not a surprise that Welker took New England's $10 million, two-year offer as a sign of disrespect. It did show a lack of respect. The Patriots saw Welker as replaceable, a secondary piece in a two tight end offense built around Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez.

Rosenthal added: "It's one of the boldest moves in Bill Belichick's tenure. Few players have found success after leaving New England, but Belichick has also swung and missed big on a lot of free agents."

And even though Amendola, who caught 63 passes for 666 yards and three touchdowns in 11 games in an injury-shortened 2012, makes perfect sense in New England, there are questions.

First and foremost, injuries have been an issue.

Amendola has played in 12 of 32 games in the last two seasons. He missed all but a few snaps in 2011 with a dislocated elbow that turned into a triceps tear. Last season, a freakish clavicle injury sidelined him for three weeks in the middle of the season and a foot injury kept him out for two games later in the season and limited him down the stretch.

Despite missing 20 games over the last two years, Amendola, 27, is considered by many to be a comparable player to Welker.

As's Field Yates noted this week, like Welker, Amendola was an undrafted free agent out of Texas Tech who has since settled in as a productive player when healthy. Amendola's best season came in 2010 when he totaled 85 catches for 689 yards and three touchdowns.

He has excellent quickness and is a precise route runner with reliable hands and he has some familiarity with Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels, who held the same position in St. Louis during the 2011 season (Amendola was limited to just one game that year, however).

The Patriots were razor thin at wide receiver, with Brandon Lloyd the only prominent part of the receiving core from 2012 that remains under contract for 2013. And now they're rolling the dice in hopes that Amendola can make fans -- and perhaps Tom Brady -- forget how upsetting it was to lose Welker.