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McDaniels: Danny Amendola was like a rookie in 2013

The New England Patriots paid wide receiver Danny Amendola to fill Wes Welker's shoes in 2013.

What they got was an oft-injured player who started just six games (played in 12) and caught 54 passes.

The Patriots handed Amendola a five-year, $28.5 million contract, with a $6 million signing bonus, expecting to get a gritty veteran receiver. Instead, offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels described the receiver as somewhat of a greenhorn.

"Danny's not dissimilar to the rookies," McDaniels told the Boston Globe. "He wasn't here before, and he had an opportunity to get a foundation and a system last year. And now it's his second year, and it will be exciting to see Danny's growth. Any time you're in your second year in a system, you're more comfortable. We're excited to see what he does."

Perhaps Amendola can overcome his first-year failures, but in reality, his production was on par with his previous four years in St. Louis: miss multiple games with injuries, catch 50 to 75 passes, gain 600-or-so yards and grab a couple of touchdowns.

The Patriots' offseason moves don't impart a belief that Amendola will suddenly become the player they paid him to be just because it's his second year in the system. The Pats re-signed Julian Edelman -- who became the player Amendola was paid to be -- brought in veteran Brandon LaFell and drafted Jeremy Gallon.

With Rob Gronkowski expected to return from a torn ACL and an improved Kenbrell Thompkins and Aaron Dobson hoping to buttress Edelman, Amendola might be in a fight for playing time.

Given his contract, it's going to take a major leap in production and health for Amendola to stick on the Patriots' roster beyond 2014.

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