Bucs Could Add Familiar Target for Tom Brady: Analysis

Danny Amendola

Getty Danny Amendola remains a free agent and could join Tom Brady in Tampa Bay.

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers may go 0-2 on two of Tom Brady’s former targets before the season starts.

Rob Gronkowski hasn’t made a decision on returning to football, and Julian Edelman unretirement jokes remain just that — playful banter. However, the Bucs could sign longtime Brady target and former New England Patriots teammate Danny Amendola. The Bucs still need a consistent third receiver with Chris Godwin out due to an ACL tear.

Amendola helped Brady and the Patriots win two Super Bowls before moving on to another three teams between 2019 and 2021. Amendola, 36, has 617 receptions, 6,212 yards, and 24 touchdowns in his 13-year career. He also has strong postseason career stats with 57 catches for 57 yards, 709 yards, and six touchdowns in 13 games.

Brady and Amendola haven’t played together since 2017, but Brady roasted Amendola on social media as recently as last year. Amendola expressed his high regard for Brady before Super Bowl LV in 2021.

“When you see the ‘Patriot Way’ in the dictionary, it’s got Tom Brady’s picture next to it. None of those coaches caught any passes,” Amendola said on FS1’s “First Things First” in  2021. “Tom Brady is the ‘Patriot Way.’ That’s why he’s in the Super Bowl & the Patriots aren’t.”

Brady and the Bucs fell short of the Super Bowl last season as injuries mounted among receivers in addition to Antonio Brown’s departure. The Bucs signed Russell Gage in the offseason but won’t have Godwin back until sometime during the 2022 season.

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Amendola Could Give the Bucs an Affordable Option

Amendola could join the Bucs on a team-friendly deal. He made $1.7 million with the Houston Texans last season per Spotrac. He caught 24 passes for 248 yards and three touchdowns in eight games played for the Texans. A thigh injury and meniscus injury limited him in 2021.

Durability has been more consistent for Amendola in recent years. He played 14-15 games every season from 2017 to 2020, and he never played fewer than 12 games in a season going back to 2013.

Brady and Amendola had a strong connection in New England, which included clutch postseason touchdowns.

Amendola caught two touchdowns from Brady in 2018 for an AFC Championship game win 24-20 over Jacksonville. The two also connected twice for touchdowns in comeback playoff win, 35-31, against Baltimore in 2015.

Amendola also showed up big in Super Bowls. He played a big role in helping the Patriots rally to win Super Bowl LI in 2017 with eight catches for 78 yards and a touchdown, plus the game-tying two-point conversion. Against Seattle in 2015, Amendola caught a touchdown during a fourth-quarter rally won by the Patriots, 28-24.

Does Amendola Have More Clutch Plays Ahead?

While he isn’t a late 20-something or early 30-something receiver anymore, Amendola showed last season that he can still produce. He made seven receptions for 113 yards and two touchdowns in the Texans’ season finale against the Tennessee Titans.

Similar to Gronkowski, Amendola wanted to take some time to assess if he will play in 2022 hasn’t publicly decided.

“I love the game, I love to compete,” Amendola said via Sports Illustrated’s Texans Daily. “Just like any other season, I’m going to take a couple of months off, assess the damage and make a decision then. So, we will see.”

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