After a fairly quiet start to the offseason for the New England Patriots, Bill Belichick and the front office made a surprise move this weekend. On Saturday, the team announced they were acquiring Miami Dolphins’ WR DeVante Parker. The team will also receive a 2022 5th-round pick, both in exchange for a 2023 3rd-round pick.
The Patriots have agreed to a trade to acquire former first-round pick WR Devante Parker from the Dolphins, per @RapSheet— Guy Boston Sports (@GuyBostonSports) April 2, 2022
New England will send a late-round pick to Miami pic.twitter.com/O7ZbcA60NR
On the surface, this is a solid low-risk, high-reward kind of deal. Parker has shown flashes of brilliance that could benefit young QB Mac Jones. Wide receiver was a top position of need coming into the offseason, and it seems it has been addressed.
Welcome to New England DeVante Parker🔥🔥 pic.twitter.com/tG15Gk7gK2— Pats Buzz (@PatsBuzz) April 2, 2022
I have seen many Patriots fans rejoicing the trade, both personal friends and fans I’ve seen on Twitter alike. I have to be honest though, my reaction to the trade has been kind of meh.
That’s how I felt when I first heard it announced, and it’s still how I feel over 24 hours later. It’s not a bad trade by any means, but to me it’s slightly dissapointing.
Before I dive into why I think that, please do not misread my words. I don’t hate this trade at all, I think it’s a solid deal. Buying low on a receiver with high potential is never a bad move. I’m just not exactly jumping up and down in glee over the trade. Allow me to elaborate.
Parker Is By No Means A Sure Thing
Some of my best friends come from a family of Miami Dolphins fans. I spend almost every Sunday during football season at their house watching games. I’ve watched many Phins games with them over the years, and because of that I don’t exactly have positive connotations when I hear the name “DeVante Parker.”
They were never very fond of him, and always were left dissapointed and agitated with him. They seemed happy when they heard the news he was gone. My friend even grinned at me and gave me a sarcastic “good luck” when talking about the Parker trade.
The reality of DeVante Parker is this: when he is actually healthy and on the field, he can be a very dynamic weapon for an offense. Just look at 2019, his career year in Miami. 72 Receptions, 1,202 receiving yards and 9 touchdowns, all while catching passed from a 37 year old Ryan Fitzpatrick.
There is no doubt about it, the man has talent. He’s flashed it many times throughout his career. That though is the problem. His career is defined by flashes. No consistency aside from the 2019 season. His inconsistency isn’t even due to a lack of talent. Rather, it’s his lack to stay on the field healthy.
Ready to get it going.@DeVanteParker11 | #ForeverNE pic.twitter.com/q5FGFpGuYN— New England Patriots (@Patriots) April 6, 2022
It’s no secret, injuries have been his big issue. They are the reason he’s failed to break out and be the star many thought he could be. Parker has missed 20 games over the course of his NFL career thus far due to injuries. That number doesn’t include the countless times he exited games early or played through games hampered by injuries, deeming him ineffective.
Unfortunately, those injury issues don’t usually get better with age. Father Time deems them to get worse. Parker is 29 years old now, and the amount of time left to tap into that potential is running out.
The unfortunate reality is that Parker is absolutely no sure thing here. If he can actually stay on the field, perhaps he can be a great weapon for Mac. He’s shown he can be a great weapon in the past. It’s just hard for me to get excited about a guy who you honestly don’t know if he’ll survive the season.
New England needed a sure thing, a game changing receiver to help develop Mac. What they got is an aging, injury prone receiver who aside from one great season in 2019, has had a mediocre career. Again, this move was very low risk, and could have a high reward. I just think New England needed a lot more than that to help fix their WR issue.
Better Options Were Available
We’ve seen a lot of big name players change teams this offseason, especially at the wide receiver position. Davante Adams, Tyreek Hill, Allen Robinson, Robert Woods, Amari Cooper, and JuJu Smith-Schuster are among the big name wideouts that changed teams. Veterans Julio Jones and Jarvis Landry are still on the market. Star Odell Beckham Jr. is also still available, someone New England reportedly spoke with.
Outside of Adams and Hill, every other receiver I just mentioned could have been grabbed by New England. The Patriots didn’t have a ton of cap space this offseason, but enough to make a move for one of these players. All those players are better and much more proven than DeVante Parker. Yes, even JuJu I’d take over DeVante personally. TikTok antics aside, he is a solid young receiver.
Guys like Cooper and Woods were acquired in trades for little to nothing. The Patriots gave up more for Parker than the Browns did for Cooper or the Titans did for Woods. I’m sure contract situations had a role to play there, but regardless, every team in the league finds a way to make cap space.
Parker has potential, but guys like Cooper and Woods are proven commodities. All the players I mentioned are. For a team that just can’t get WR right, any one of these guys would have been a better a better option. Mac Jones needs talent around him, and the missed opportunities here could come back to haunt the Patriots.
Move Proves New England Isn’t Competing With The Top Dogs
The harsh reality of this offseason is that New England is not a Super Bowl contender. Not particularly close at all. The AFC had an arms race this offseason, one that New England has seemingly lost. So many other teams got consistently better around them, while New England did very little to improve. Parker could and probably will be an upgrade over Nelson Agholor if he can stay on the field. That’s not saying too much though.
The rest of the AFC got a lot stronger, and it’s hard to picture New England making the playoffs. That hurt me to say, but it’s the truth. Right now I believe all four AFC West teams are better than the Patriots. The Bills and Dolphins both stack up better than New New England. Indianapolis, Tennessee, and Cincinnati are all definitely better. Cleveland if Deshaun Watson isn’t suspended is much better.
Even with the seven team playoff format, I just don’t think New England stacks up well in the AFC. They lost the arms race, and it shows. Not to say that Amari Cooper would magically put the Patriots over those teams. It would definitely make the gap closer though for sure.
It’s just too safe of a move. A low risk deal is not bad at all. So many teams however took big risks that show they want to win now. I just don’t get that feeling from New England. Parker isn’t a bad move, but it symbolizes New England’s entire offseason: dissapointing.
Featured Photo by Mark Brown/Getty Images
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