One of the most important things about being a wide receiver is being reliable to catch the ball. The New England Patriots have one of the best in the league at doing so.
Even though many expected him to the replacement for Wes Welker a few seasons ago, Amendola has been a valuable member of the team despite not reaching those expectations. Staying healthy has always been an issue for Amendola, but he is one of the most reliable options on the field when he’s playing.
Recently, Bryson Vesnaver of Pro Football Focus.com named the wide receivers that have the lowest drop rates in the NFL. Topping the list was Antonio Brown of the Pittsburgh Steelers. With a 2.8% drop rate, Brown was the best among qualifying receivers. Behind him was Larry Fitzgerald, Doug Baldwin, Pierre Garcon, and Jordy Nelson.
One of the players that didn’t qualify was Amendola. However, he actually has a better drop rate than Brown. Here is what Vesnaver had to say about Amendola.
"Amendola hasn’t seen a ton of playing time these last couple of seasons with the Patriots, but it seems that he is making a key catch for QB Tom Brady every time he’s on the field. Over the past two seasons, Amendola has dropped just two passes on 90 catchable targets. That 2.2 percent drop rate is the highest in the NFL among receivers with more than 55 catchable targets but falls short of the 100 target threshold to make this list. That included a 2016 season where he didn’t drop any of his 23 targets."
Over the past few seasons, Amendola has gained the reputation of being a favorite target of Brady come crunch time. As seen by his drop rate, you can understand why Brady has faith in Amendola in key situations.
This offseason, the Patriots upgraded their wide receiver corps with the addition of Brandin Cooks from the New Orleans Saints. In order to avoid being released, Amendola took a pay cut to stay with the Patriots for another season. Even though he might not be a star, Amendola’s value as a reliable receiver is very important for New England.