Amendola signed a five-year, $28.5 million contract last March that included $10 million in guaranteed money. Of his $3 million base salary in 2014, $2 million is guaranteed if he's on the roster at 4 p.m. ET on March 11 -- the first day of the league year. If he's a post-June 1 release, the Pats could spread the cap charge ($1.2 million in 2014 and $3.6 million in 2015).
It's an interesting personnel call for the Patriots, who have some pressing needs and not much in the way of cap flexibility as they enter the offseason. Amendola was supposed to be the offense's replacement for Wes Welker, but he missed four games to injury and never gained the trust of Tom Brady.
Don't discount the timing of Amendola's Patriots nadir, either. In the team's AFC Championship Game loss to the Denver Broncos, Amendola nearly was invisible. He was targeted just once, dropping the only pass thrown his way.