Well, Bob, here we are again. It’s the end of the year, and we’ve got guys whose contract with the Rams is up. It’s a fun time, isn’t it? I mean, fun for us, not so much for these guys who just spent five months getting the you-know-what beat out of them every week, and now they have to prove to us that they’re not too old or too beat up for us to pay them to do it again. But hey, it’s a part of life in this career. Don’t hate us for thinning the herd. We’re like lions. Or sharks. Nice sharks. Totally necessary to the ecosystem.
So, Danny Amendola? Here’s an interesting case. Really had three seasons in one this year. Let’s bring him in.
Danny! Danny, Danny, Danny. Where were you all last year? I mean, we were paying you, right? And you missed … let me see … EVERY GAME? No, wait, that’s not right, there you were in the opener against Philadelphia. And then this happened. Our guy throws you a pass, and you just decide to lie down and take a little nap, right on the team’s logo. Didn’t even get hit, did you?
Well, that wasn’t so good. But then again, we didn’t get much better performance from the two youngsters we hired on last year, Pettis and Salas. So we welcomed you all back this year, not really knowing what to expect, and we drafted a couple more new guys just in case. And here’s where we doff our hats to you, symbolically of course because people don’t wear hats any more. You put in the work in camp, and kind of forced our hands into naming you a starter again. Nothing wrong with that, having a little fire under one’s rear, am I right?
Okay, so. Then we have what I’ll call “season number one.” This is “Healthy Danny,” the Danny Amendola that we always thought you could be. This is you, finally earning all those Wes Welker comparisons. What? You never heard that before? You wouldn’t be funning us, would you?.
That’s 31 catches on 44 targets, a 70% catch rate, and 88 yards a game. Spread that out over a full season, and we’re talking 120 catches for 1400 yards.
Can you imagine numbers like that? I can, but that’s only because I’ve seen Isaac Bruce and Torry Holt play. We had those guys right here in this room, did you know that? They both sat in the same seat you did. Though I’m starting to wonder whether we made the right call on Ike, aren’t you? Anyway, water under the bridge.
But then, because this is apparently a bit of a bad habit of yours, here comes Week 5 and you go up to catch a ball, and you come down … kind of looked like you caught it, but they say the ball touched turf … and in any case there you go into the tunnel and back to the trainer’s room!
Okay. “Season number two.” That’s one catch in four weeks. Extrapolate that over a full season, and … well, now we’re talking about Keenan Burton numbers. Yes, we had that guy sit in this seat, too. That wasn’t so pleasant. Nice fellow, of course, don’t get me wrong, but there was just no case to be made there.
So, you had four full weeks, counting the bye week, to rest up. Then you came back from the collarbone and toughed out a hell of a game against San Francisco. I mean, a HELL of a game.
And of course, you and I know that that line should say “12-13, 182 yards.” It doesn’t go down in the record book, but we remember. We’ll have Mr. Gibson in this seat shortly, and talk about that quite a little bit more, won’t we?
In any case, here’s Healthy Danny making an encore performance. Do you know how many 100-yard receivers Sammy has had before this season? One. And here you are with two just in this season alone. If we add that to your Healthy Danny portfolio, we’re talking 42 catches on 56 throws, a 75% catch rate, and 90 yards per game. Here’s what that line looks like over a full season:
134 catches for 1450 yards.
Unfortunately, that’s the last we saw of Healthy Danny, isn’t it. Because here comes that awful game against the Jets. I mean, awful. Nothing at all good happened in that game, but maybe the least good thing was this: you’re in a hole in the zone on the right side, and Sam wheels back and throws a terrible ball. I mean he looked like a monkey throwing a turd. And he threw it way behind you. You had no business going after that ball, but you did anyway. You twisted your body like a Russian ballerina trying to make a play.
Are you a Russian ballerina, Danny? We admire that you want to make a play. That’s why Sam loves throwing to you. But I think we can safely say that you’re not putting on Lenin’s tutu any time soon.
In any case, there went your heel. And there went your ability to practice during the week. Coach would tape an Advil to your foot on gameday and send you out there, but it wasn’t the same Danny, was it? No, this was “season number three.”
20 catches in 40 targets. That’s only a 50% catch rate, if you needed help with the math there, and only 34 yards per game in the games you played. You know what, I don’t even want to tell you what that is over a full season. It’s not good, is what it is.
So what are we going to do with you? We’d love to get out Mr. Stan’s checkbook and pay you like a 1400-yard guy. Believe me, there’s nothing more that we’d love than to do that. In fact, if we put the old franchise tag on you, that’s exactly what we’d be doing, isn’t it?
But you’re not a 1400-yard guy. No, not yet. You’re kind of like two different guys, and i’m not sure which one we’d be paying for. Look, we like you. Sam loves you. But here’s the funny thing: do you know what our guys’ record was after that Jets game, while you were gimping around? Four wins, two losses. Now, if you’d been healthy, is that six wins? Could be. I’m no fortune teller. But four and two is awfully fine for having your “best” receiver play like dirt.
So I think we’ll have to let you know. You’ll be hearing from us, don’t worry Danny. This decision is far from made.
Thanks to @squick3n for contributing and breaking down data for this article.
Really strong article that hits home on something I’ve been wondering about since DA went down, again, this season. Can they afford to pay him what he's probably going to ask for? Sure, we, and the Rams, are going to need to wait and see what that number is, but until he can show that he's able to stay healthy and put up DA numbers for an entire season, I don't know that you can make that kind of financial commitment to him.
One other thing to consider is where the Rams play DA... The emergence of Chris Givens was a big step in the right direction, but the Rams need to find another (Quick, draft, FA signing) outside receiver so DA is able to do what he does best, make plays from the slot.
@seattlerams Personally, I love the versatility of having Danny match up inside or outside. Plus him being able to play outside means he can be on the field in single-receiver sets.
As far as his contract demands? That's an unknown. I would think that a one-year "prove it" deal would be beneficial to Danny. If he can put together a healthy season and crack 80 catches and 1000-1200 yards, then it sets him up for a big payday. For the Rams, obviously they might get a better long-term deal if they sign it now, based on a guy who has never cracked 700 yards in a season. But there's a ton of risk associated with signing anyone with this injury history to a multi-year deal.