Wide receiver Danny Amendola will be leaving the Patriots to sign with the Dolphins today when free agency officially begins.
Club exercises $9.3 million option to keep RT James.
Amendola, 32, spent the last five seasons with New England.
The Dolphins are signing two veteran wide receivers to replace the production of Jarvis Landry, who was traded to Cleveland last week.
After the Dolphins agreed to a four-year, $32 million deal with former Kansas City receiver Albert Wilson on Tuesday, longtime New England wide receiver Danny Amendola also decided to join Miami.
Meanwhile, free-agent place-kicker Cody Parkey is headed to the Chicago Bears.
One player who apparently is staying put is right tackle Ja’Wuan James. Miami exercised a $9.3 million team option on James for the 2018 season, and it appears he will play on that contract this year. James and left tackle Laremy Tunsil both posted messages on Instagram on Tuesday hinting that they will continue to play together.
The Dolphins will be able to rescind the option if James has recovered from the hamstring injury that ended his 2017 season in November. Coach Adam Gase indicated last month they were considering going that route.
The team still has until today at 4 p.m. to rescind James’ contract, which would make him an unrestricted free agent. There likely would be a strong market for him.
With Landry headed to Cleveland, the Dolphins were in the market for receivers.
The fact that Amendola, 32, was available was a bit of a surprise considering he’s twice taken less money to stay with New England. NFL Network reported that he will sign for two years, $12 million with $8.25 million guaranteed.
He caught 61 passes for 659 yards and two touchdowns with the Patriots last year.
One of his more memorable moments of the season, to Dolphins fans, was an altercation with Miami cornerback Bobby McCain when the teams met in November. McCain was ejected for appearing to throw a punch at Amendola after what he described as a lot of “extra stuff ” by Amendola like grabbing his neck and facemask.
Amendola is a nine-year veteran who broke into the league as an undrafted free agent out of Texas Tech in 2008. After a year-plus on practice squads in Dallas and Philadelphia, he got his chance with the Rams in ’09.
He’s had five seasons of at least 630 reciving yards and four of 60-plus catches. He was part of New England’s Super Bowl champion teams in 2014 and ’16.
Wilson, who played for Port St. Lucie High School, was signed out of Georgia State as an undrafted free agent. Only 5-foot-9, he has run a 4.43-second 40-yard dash and is strong for his size. Wilson has compared himself to former Panthers and Ravens wide receiver Steve Smith.
Wilson, who had 42 receptions for 554 yards and three TDs last season, once said former Miami Hurricane Devin Hester was his favorite player. Wilson’s quickness and versatility will give Gase myriad options in 2018.
Wilson was dubbed the Chiefs’ “Energizer Bunny” by former offensive coordinator Matt Nagy, according to the Kansas City Star. In one article, Nagy raved about Wilson’s blocking, route running and comfort with Kansas City’s schemes. Nagy said that Wilson “knows what he is doing,” which will certainly please Gase. Nagy added that Wilson has excellent hands and plays fast.
The Dolphins now have their top four receivers in Kenny Stills, DeVante Parker, Wilson and Amendola. That leaves little room for backups Jakeem Grant, Leonte Carroo and Rashawn Scott to carve out playing time.
Grant still has value as a return man and showed flashes of potential as a receiver late last season with 10 catches for 188 yards and two touchdowns over the final four games.
Carroo’s spot is more tenuous. The Dolphins traded up to get him in the third round of the 2016 draft, but he has 10 catches in 28 games.
Parkey, from Jupiter, came to Miami a week before the start of last season and hit a 54-yard game-winner in his debut. That was just the beginning. He made 21 of 23 field-goal attempts, missing only from 48 and 50 yards, and became the first kicker in documented NFL history to convert four onside kicks in a season.
He was also at the center of the best kickoff coverage unit in the league, with Dolphins’ opponents getting an average starting field position at their own 23-yard line.
Miami is letting that talent walk out the door and will search for a kicker once again. Since the Dolphins cut Dan Carpenter in 2013, no kicker has lasted more than two seasons.
Parkey’s lone season in South Florida was a dream come true for a lifelong Dolphins fan. After his game-winner against the Chargers in the opener, he made the game-tying and game-winning field goals at Atlanta and a 39-yarder with 22 seconds left to beat the Jets.
Keeping James gives Miami three starters on the offensive line locked in for the upcoming season. In addition to him and Tunsil, the Dolphins have Mike Pouncey entrenched at center.
They have two guards in Jesse Davis and Ted Larsen, but the question now is whether they’re content to push ahead with this starting five. Larsen played left guard last season, but said he wanted to switch to right. Davis played both guard spots and right tackle.
The team said one objective this offseason was to determine where Davis fits best, and hanging on to James rules out right tackle.
The Dolphins still can consider alternatives at guard in free agency, though ex-Carolina guard Andrew Norwell agreed to a five-year, $66.5 million deal with the Jaguars on Tuesday morning.
Receiver Danny Amendola is leaving the Patriots as a free agent for the Dolphins. The nine-year veteran also played for the Rams.