Explaining factors that would lead Danny Amendola to leave Patriots

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- Barring an unexpected last-minute change of heart, wide receiver Danny Amendola is expected to sign a two-year deal with the Miami Dolphins, a source confirmed to ESPN. An NFL Network report indicates the contract will be worth $12 million, with $8.25 million guaranteed.

That total of guaranteed money is worth more than Amendola's total compensation over the past three seasons with the Patriots -- in which he took pay reductions each year to stick around -- and it highlights why this type of deal could be hard for Amendola to turn down.

The Patriots, as is their standard operating procedure, assign financial values to players based on what role they project them to fill. In New England, Amendola is a No. 3/4 option, a player whose health (specifically his knee) was managed carefully with the hope of having him at his best down the homestretch and into the playoffs (when he shined brightest). Because of that, a two-year, $12 million deal with $8.25 million guaranteed doesn't fit how the Patriots -- right or wrong -- view his role.

Offensive snap-count totals help further illustrate this from a Patriots perspective.

  • In 2014, Amendola played 41 percent of the offensive snaps.

  • In 2015, it was 51.5 percent.

  • In 2016, the number dipped to 23.8 percent.

  • And this past season, with injuries to Julian Edelman and Chris Hogan, it increased to 49.9 percent but would have been significantly lower if not for injuries to others.

Compare that to how the Dolphins view the 32-year-old Amendola in a year in which they are attempting to change their locker-room culture, and a two-year, $12 million deal with $8.25 million guaranteed fits because they have a different role to offer him (more of a pure No. 3 or even a part-time No. 2 option), and might also be willing to pay a bit more for his presence and winning pedigree.

Even though the Patriots hoped to have Amendola return, the possibility of another team valuing Amendola at a higher level than the Patriots was foreshadowed on Sunday.

At this point, barring a last-minute change of heart from Amendola to stick around for less money, that appears to be the key factor in his departure.