BOSTON (CBS) — It’s hard to imagine the New England offense taking the field and Danny Amendola not lining up as one of Tom Brady’s targets.

But with Amendola set to become a free agent on March 14, that could become a reality next season.

Amendola’s future with the Patriots was one of the many topics he tackled during a Q&A with students at Bryant University in Rhode Island on Tuesday night. While the receiver would like to be back, he said that decision may not be up to him.

“I’m a free agent this year, so let’s say — the unknown, yeah. We’ll see what happens,” Amendola said as fans in the crowd shouted “don’t leave” to him.

“I definitely want to be here,” he said. “To tell you the truth, I don’t want to leave. But, I mean, it’s a business. I’ve learned that.”

It’s difficult to imagine Amendola not being back with the Patriots, especially after he took a pay cut in each of the last three offseasons to remain with the team. Even with a stacked depth chart at receiver — with Brandin Cooks, Julian Edelman, Chris Hogan, Phillip Dorsett and Malcolm Mitchell all under contract for 2018 — the Patriots should find a way to bring back such a key contributor to the offense. Amendola finished the 2017 season with 61 receptions for 659 yards and two touchdowns, adding another 26 catches for 348 yards and two scores during the postseason. He was one of Brady’s favorite targets in the playoffs, coming down with numerous clutch third-down catches, not to mention both of the team’s fourth quarter touchdowns in New England’s comeback win over the Jacksonville Jaguars in the AFC Championship Game.

Amendola’s comments are similar to those of running back Dion Lewis, who told ESPN’s Adam Schefter that he would like to be back with the Patriots next season, but also understands it’s a business. Lewis also made it a point to say he wants to get fair value deal on the open market — and understands that may not come from New England.

With Brady at quarterback, the Patriots offense should still be one of the NFL’s best in 2018. But things could look very, very different when they take the field for the first time next September.


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