Wide receivers have been a key focus of the NFL offseason, namely Julio Jones. The Atlanta Falcons are reportedly asking for a first-round draft pick and a player in a trade package for the All-Pro receiver. Some teams with a need out wide won’t meet the Falcons’ ask, and they can look to the free-agent market for receiver depth.
There are several reliable, veteran pass-catchers that are still available. Danny Amendola is one of a few more notable names out there. Amendola spent the last two seasons with the Detroit Lions after a year-long stint in Miami and five years playing alongside quarterback Tom Brady and head coach Bill Belichick in New England. Amendola has been quietly productive amid the somewhat constant change of scenery, totaling 2,514 yards and four touchdowns with a 68.9% catch rate over the last four seasons with three different teams.
Amendola, who will turn 36 mid-way through the 2021 season, is yet again in search of another team. Retirement is certainly an option for the two-time Super Bowl-winning receiver, but Amendola has shown he still has plenty left in the tank and it’s looking increasingly more clear that the Lions won’t re-sign him. Here are three teams that could use his experience and talent in their receiving corps.
The Vikings need some depth at receiver. Quarterback Kirk Cousins has a good 1-2 punch at WR1 and WR2 with Justin Jefferson and Adam Thielen, but the Vikings don’t have equally productive options outside those two. Infusing Amendola into this offense can continue to open the offense for Cousins, who has finessed outrageously high contract extensions from Minnesota for average to below-average play. Cousins could be better or he could have another receiver that makes him look better; either way, the Vikings can improve on their passing attack, which finished in the top-15 last season.
Any team in need of a receiver would like to land Jones, but he might be too rich for the Titans. Instead, the Titans can look to free agency and the available Amendola. They need to fill the hole Corey Davis left when he departed to New York earlier this year. Davis had the second-most targets (92) and yards (984) behind A.J. Brown last season. Amendola can step in at WR2 and help carry some of that load. He saw similar production in 2019 and, when playing in at least 15 games, has seen no less than 79 targets (save for 2014). The Titans already have one of the strongest run games in the NFL and a good, reliable quarterback in Ryan Tannehill; adding Amendola to this offense can sustain some of their recent success.
The Steelers don’t have a strong need at receiver and already have a fairly deep unit, but JuJu Smith-Schuster’s time in Pittsburgh seems limited and Father Time is catching up to quarterback Ben Roethlisberger. If the Steelers want to win now and win fast, adding Amendola, who almost guarantees any offense he’s in reliable yards and a touchdown or two, would keep them competitive in the AFC. Pittsburgh spread out the targets to its top four pass-catchers last season; Amendola could slide right in as an added option/injury depth as he also reaches the tail end of his career.