Free agent Danny Amendola has proven value for Patriots

At 32, Danny Amendola still has a lot to offer, and it appears he wants to remain in New England. Greg M. Cooper/USA TODAY Sports

Exploring some hot New England Patriots topics in mailbag form:

The feeling is positive from a standpoint of the Patriots being the team that Danny Amendola would want to be with if he decides to play another season. Amendola has mentioned in recent years (and proved with his actions) that money isn't the most important thing to him. He wants to be in position to play in meaningful games in December and hopefully into January, and he's also close with Julian Edelman and Tom Brady, so the Patriots are in a good spot from that standpoint. And as the 32-year-old Amendola has shown, he still has a lot to offer as well.

Chuck, after he took a hit from Malcolm Jenkins that knocked him out of Super Bowl LII, my understanding is that Brandin Cooks has been in good spirits and his recovery has been good. He's been active on social media, which is another positive sign.

James, I included Martellus Bennett in a piece about players who could feel a financial crunch based on their 2018 salaries. So I think it is a long shot that the Patriots keep him at his scheduled salary. Perhaps they would consider his return at a lower salary, if that was something he was amenable to, as he has been one of Brady's favorites.

Ben, when I think of the tight ends who have the most appeal to Bill Belichick, it is those who are equally adept at blocking as they are pass-catching. Otherwise, if the player is one-dimensional, he is either more of a sixth offensive lineman as a blocker or a bigger, slower wide receiver as a pass-catcher. From what I've seen of Julius Thomas, he falls more into the latter category. That doesn't mean a signing wouldn't happen, but to me it isn't a perfect fit unless it's a true tight end from a combination standpoint.

Harvey Langi has been a regular at Gillette Stadium since the season ended as he continues to work his way back. One person close to him reported that he plans to play again and that his progress has been positive to the point that there is a chance he could be ready for the offseason program. I'm not sure of the status of his wife's health/recovery from the car accident.

Matt, comparing any player to Vince Wilfork is tough, as he is a future Patriots Hall of Famer. One easy comparison, however, is that in both cases the Patriots were surprised to see Wilfork (21st in 2004) and Malcolm Brown (32nd in 2015) available in the draft. Also, entering their fourth season, they both showed promise and more developmental upside. I remember when Wilfork was going through a contract negotiation in 2010, he expressed a strong belief that he was more than a two-down player. That turned out to be the case. I think Brown could make a similar case. They are both scheme-versatile players. So those are some of the similarities that I see.