The Patriots start to free agency has been much slower than last year but things could be starting to pick up. According to multiple reports, the Patriots and Dolphins have completed a trade that will send veteran wide receiver DeVante Parker and a 2022 fifth-round pick to New England in exchange for a 2023 third-round selection.
Parker, 29, has spent his entire seven-year career in Miami after arriving as a first-round pick out of Louisville in 2015. Injuries have dramatically impacted his production as Parker has managed to play a full 16-game season just once, but that season also saw him rack up career highs with 72 catches, 1,202 yards and nine touchdowns. That came in 2019, but since then he's played in just 24 of the Dolphins 33 games and his production has dropped mightily.
Last season he caught just 40 passes for 515 yards and a pair of touchdowns. That lack of availability and consistency no doubt led Miami to the decision to trade the talented Parker – even to a division rival in New England.
When healthy the 6-3, 219-pound wideout has the ability to stretch the field, make contested catches and impact the game. The problem is that hasn't happened nearly enough for the Dolphins, who swung for the fences last week with their deal to acquire Tyreek Hill. That move came after Miami signed Cedrick Wilson as a free agent, changing the landscape of their receiving corps and thus making Parker expendable.
For the Patriots, Parker would represent the most talented member of the receiving group, allowing Nelson Agholor, Kendrick Bourne and Jakobi Meyers to slide down a peg. That's good news for Mac Jones, who could use another talented weapon at his disposal as he tries to improve on a solid rookie campaign.
If Parker is healthy, he should be a major factor in the team's attack. He has two years remaining on his deal with base salaries of $5.65 million this year and $5.7 million in 2023. Those numbers are more than reasonable for a player of his ability, as long as he's playing.
Wide receiver was considered one of the team's bigger needs in the upcoming draft, and this move likely does little to change that. The need for youth and athleticism at the position remains, even if Parker pans out with the Patriots. In the short term, however, Parker's arrival is great news for Jones and the Patriots offense.