The Dolphins, embarking on a youth movement and rebuilding program, parted ways with their most experienced wide receiver on Friday, cutting Danny Amendola after just one season with the team.
Amendola, 33, led Miami in catches (59) and yards (575) this past season but the Dolphins want to get younger at the position and have said they’re willing to sustain short-term pain this season with an eye toward bolstering their team longterm.
By releasing Amendola, the Dolphins do not need to pay any of the $5.9 million he was owed next season and save $6 million on their salary cap, with no dead money. The release of Amendola was characterized as a mutual decision, with Amendola aware of Miami’s plans to rebuild and create cap space.
The release of Amendola - coupled with Thursday’s release of defensive end Andre Branch and guard Ted Larsen - leaves the Dolphins with $22 million in cap space.
Amendola assuredly will not be the only receiver to move on.
The Dolphins also are expected to rescind the fifth-year option on receiver DeVante Parker by next Wednesday’s deadline to do so. That will give the Dolphins an additional $9.4 million in cap space.
Amendola caught 59 of the 75 passes thrown to him last season but only 27 of those 59 catches went for first downs, one reason why quarterbacks had a pretty average 86.4 passer rating in his coverage area.
Amendola’s release, and the expected release of Parker, will leave Albert Wilson, Jakeem Grant, Kenny Stills and Brice Butler as the veteran receivers under contract.
Though there’s no indication that the Dolphins want to move on from Stills, keep in mind that $1 million of his $7.97 million base salary becomes guaranteed on March 17. Already, $3 million has been guaranteed.
Wilson will earn a $6.9 million base salary next season in the second year of a three-year contract and remains in Miami’s longterm plans. Grant will be paid $720,000 in the final season of his contract.
Butler will earn $805,000 in the second year of a two-year contract signed when Miami claimed him off waivers last season.
The Dolphins also have young receivers Leonte Carroo (a restricted free agent) and Isaiah Ford and could add a receiver or two in the draft process.
In Pro Football Focus’s final ranking of 125 receivers last season, the web site rated Grant 48th, Parker 50th, Amendola 67th and Stills 80th. If Wilson had enough snaps to qualify, his 82.9 grade would have ranked him 14th.
Amendola signed a two-year, $12 million deal with the Dolphins last March after five years with the New England Patriots, where he caught 230 passes for 2383 yards and 12 touchdowns. But he caught only one touchdown as a Dolphin.
Had the Dolphins retained him, his offensive coordinator would have been Chad O’Shea, his former receivers coach with the Patriots.
▪ Veteran tight end Dwayne Allen left his Dolphins visit on Friday without a contract. Allen will assess his options after visiting Miami, Baltimore, Detroit and Buffalo this past week.