Amendola would make sense as Welker 2.0

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Amendola would make sense as Welker 2.0

In 2007, the New England Patriots hustled the Miami Dolphins out of Wes Welker. Welker, then 26, was given a second-round tender by the Miami Dolphins as a restricted free agent. For a young player on the rise on a poor team, the Patriots could pry him loose with a contract offer that included a "poison pill" and only have to fork over a second-round draft pick. In the end, the Patriots took pity on Miami and worked a trade instead, sending Miami their second-rounder and a seventh-rounder as well in exchange for Welker who they signed to a five-year deal. In the Patriots' system - and thanks to his own talents - Welker has been perhaps the most productive slot receiver in NFL history. My friend Mike Reiss wrote about the machinations behind the Welker signing for The Boston Globe back in 2007. Now, five years later, there's a player that's as close to Welker in style as any in the NFL. And he's been given the second-round tender as an RFA. Danny Amendola of the St. Louis Rams, who missed almost all of 2011 after dislocating his elbow in the season opener, is a player that had 85 catches for St. Louis in 2010. He's 5-10, 186 pounds. He plays the slot. He returns punts. He's 26 years old. He was undrafted out of Texas Tech. He was cut by two teams - the Eagles and Cowboys. The Turf Show Times, a Rams fan site, detailed the similarities last year. Could the Patriots pull the same move with Amendola that they did with Welker and set themselves up with Welker's successor? It makes sense. Except for the money. With Welker carrying a 9.5 million franchise tag and the Patriots likely looking at a wideout like Brandon Lloyd in free agency as well, that's a lot of money being flung at a position that New England's been miserly about spending toward. A new deal for Amendola to pry him out of St. Louis would only add to the wideout tab in 2012. Meanwhile, acquiring Amendola would certainly crimp any contract extension talks with Welker that the team could have between now and July 15. It could cause Welker to back at signing the tender at all and staying away from the team into training camp. But it would free the Patriots up from having to give a long-term deal to a slot man who turns 31 in May and it would bring Welker's eventual replacement in the fold. With free agency opening Tuesday at 4 p.m., we'll soon find out if the Patriots see the logic in making the same move with Amendola that they did with Welker. Let's hear from you in the comment section whether you think it's a move New England should explore.

BOSTON SPORTS TONIGHT PODCAST: Reaction to weekend protests

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BOSTON SPORTS TONIGHT PODCAST: Reaction to weekend protests

0:41 - Tom Giles, Tom Curran, Kayce Smith, and Michael Holley discuss the National Anthem protests across the NFL over the weekend and the reactions to players kneeling.

10:07 - Michael Hurley joins the BST crew to talk about the Patriots' thrilling last-minute victory over the Texans and how concerning the Patriots' issues on defense are.

18:13 - Michael Holley and Kayce Smith discuss Kyrie Irving and LeBron James' comments about one another during Media Day, including LeBron referring to Kyrie as "The Kid" instead of his name.

22:30 - Evan Drellich joins BST to talk about Mookie Betts and Eduardo Nunez both leaving with injuries during the Red Sox's Monday night loss to the Blue Jays, and other concerns surrounding the team heading into the postseason.

MONDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL: Prescott, Cowboys pull away to beat Cardinals, 28-17

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MONDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL: Prescott, Cowboys pull away to beat Cardinals, 28-17

GLENDALE, Ariz. , Dak Prescott kneeled with his teammates and team owner before the game, flipped head over heels for a touchdown in the first half and capped his night with a 37-yard TD pass that proved to be the game winner.

The Dallas Cowboys erased last week's ugly memory on Monday night, with their young quarterback leading the way.

"He just kept battling," Dallas coach Jason Garrett said.

"He kept making good decisions. Obviously he made some good plays, big-time throws, but as much as anything else he's got an amazing spirit and our players follow him."

The Cowboys (2-1), bouncing back from a 42-17 pummeling in Denver, began the game kneeling at midfield with owner Jerry Jones in a show of unity that followed widespread protests across the NFL of critical comments by President Donald Trump over the weekend.

After they kneeled, they stood and walked to the sideline and stood for the anthem.

"We planned and it was executed that we would go out and kneel," Jones said, "and basically make the statement regarding the need for unity and the need for equality."

Prescott, 13 of 18 for 183 yards, broke a 14-14 tie with a 37-yard scoring pass to Brice Butler with 11:52 to play.

"I immediately scrambled and when I scrambled Brice took the right angle and the right initiative going to the back of the end zone," Prescott said.

Arizona, with a spectacular catch by Larry Fitzgerald for 24 yards on a third-and-18 play, moved downfield but the drive stalled. Phil Dawson's 37-yard field goal cut the lead to 21-17 with 6:35 left.

Ezekiel Elliott, who gained 8 yards on nine carries against Denver and drew criticism for not hustling after a couple of late interceptions, was bottled up much of the game, but still gained 80 yards on 22 attempts, 30 on one play. He ran 8 yards for the final Cowboys touchdown.

The Cardinals (1-2), in their home opener, got a big game from Fitzgerald, who caught 13 passes for 149 yards, in the process moving ahead of Marvin Harrison into eighth in career receiving yards. The 13 receptions tied a career high.

"That's Fitz. It's Monday night," Arizona coach Bruce Arians said. "He's a money player. It was a great performance by him. It's a shame we couldn't play better around him."

Carson Palmer had a big first half, completed 15 of 18 for 145 yards and finished 29 of 48 for 325 yards and two scores. He was sacked six times, a career-high three by DeMarcus Lawrence.

The Cardinals dominated the first half statistically, but were deadlocked with the Cowboys at 7-7. Arizona had a 152-57 advantage in yards and dominated time of possession 19:34 to 9:41.

Arizona took the opening kickoff and went 82 yards in eight plays. Palmer was 5-for-5 on the drive, capped by a 25-yard touchdown pass to Jaron Brown.

Before Dallas even had a first down, Arizona mounted a nearly nine-minute drive but a touchdown pass to Brown was negated by a holding penalty and Phil Dawson's 36-yard field goal try was wide right. It was the third mid-range miss for the 41-year-old kicker this season.

And the miss left the door open for the Cowboys to get back in it.

Prescott scored on a 10-yard run, flipping head-first over the goal line to tie it at 7-7 with 3:33 left in the half.

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