After all, they gave Amendola a five-year deal for $31 million after watching Welker take a two-year, $12 million deal from the Denver Broncos.
The numbers aren't always what they seem, and in this case, I have a hard time taking them at face value.
Reports suggest the guaranteed money was $10 million for Amendola and $12 million for Welker. That could mean Amendola's five-year, $31 million deal is effectively a two-year deal for $10 million. That would not mean the Patriots signed Amendola to a phony deal. It would just mean New England could get out of the contract painlessly after two seasons.
The question here in the NFC West is whether or not the Rams should have paid enough early in the process to keep Amendola from getting away. I don't think there's a clear-cut answer. We've gone over some of the variables time and again.
I tend to think St. Louis would have had to pay a premium to keep Amendola, and that Amendola was unlikely to return once he hit the market. That makes it tough to judge the Rams as though they could have kept Amendola for what the Patriots wound up paying -- whatever that might be in the end.