Giants eye combine afterthought who hit it big to start O-line overhaul
During the recently concluded NFL Scouting Combine, hundreds of college players were put through a gauntlet of physical testing, mental aptitude and personality profiling, all dissected, studied and analyzed. It is worth noting four years ago, when Andrew Norwell endured this scrutiny, the conclusion was he did not quite measure up.
The high-water mark for an NFL guard is $12 million per year the deal Kevin Zeitler signed last year (five years, $60 million, with $31.5 million guaranteed) with the Browns. Norwell will surpass that per-year average, a staggering ascension, considering his humble NFL beginnings.
Norwell has the size (6-foot-6, 325 pounds), the temperament (nasty), the look (long, flowing hair), the durability (he hasn’t missed a game in two years) and the youth (26) to warrant a long-term commitment. The money is what it is, too high for a guard but the going rate, considering he was an All-Pro player in 2017 and, according to Pro Football Focus, the only offensive lineman in the league that did not allow a sack or a pressure. Heck, given Norwell’s protection history with quarterbacks, Eli Manning should kick in a few bucks to ensure Norwell comes aboard.
Plus, he is a known commodity to the Giants, at least to Dave Gettleman, their new general manager, who signed Norwell when Gettleman ran the show for the Panthers.
Amendola’s exit costs Tom Brady one of his favorite targets in the slot. The speedy Amendola was often a weapon for Brady, with the connection accounting for 659 yards last season, the most receiving yards of Amendola’s five years in New England. With Julian Edelman sidelined for the season after ACL surgery, Amendola shined in the playoffs, helping steal the AFC Championship game by catching two touchdowns in the fourth quarter to help the Patriots to a 24-20 comeback win over the Jaguars.
Amendola, 32, said last month he hoped to re-sign with the Patriots. But with Edelman under contract, having signed a two-year, $11 million extension last offseason, and both Chris Hogan and Brandin Cooks still around, the Super Bowl runners-up let Amendola walk.
Amendola, who had a tumultuous start to his NFL career after going undrafted in 2008, gives the Dolphins a dual-threat option as a punt returner and receiver. Miami was looking to solidify its receiving corps after agreeing last week to trade Jarvis Landry to the Browns for two draft picks.
The wide receiver carousel picked up steam later Tuesday, when the Packers made a swap of sorts, signing tight end Jimmy Graham to a three-year deal and releasing Jordy Nelson.