The Patriots finished the 2021-2022 season 10-7 and made a return to the playoffs after a one year hiatus. They ultimately lost to their rivals the Buffalo Bills in the wild card round, which displayed the flaws in the patriots roster, especially the need for a true number one receiving threat. Many thought that the patriots would turn to the draft to fill this need, but these forecasters were mistaken. Instead they looked in another direction. In a scarce move, the Pats finalized a trade with their rival the Miami Dolphins for wide receiver Devante Parker, per ESPN.
Parker has been a staple for the Miami Dolphins for the past seven seasons. During that time he has had 338 receptions for 4,727 yards and 24 touchdowns per Pro Football Reference. Parker is the sixth leading receiver of all time for the Dolphins. However, after the recent acquisition of superstar wide receiver Tyreke Hill from the Chiefs, and last year’s breakout performance by rookie receiver Jalen Waddle, Parker’s role on the team was uncertain. Enter Bill Belichick. In an eerily similar move that brought Wes Welker from the Dolphins to the Pats, Devante Parker along with a 2022 fifth round draft pick was traded for a 2023 third round pick. The Patriots will inherit Parker’s remaining salary that sits at a manageable “$5.65 million in 2022 and 5.7 million in 2023,” per ESPN.
Parker is the wideout the Patriots so desperately need. The acquisition of Parker satisfied the need for a down the field threat which the Patriots have been lacking since 2017 with Brandon Cooks. But do not just take my word for it, Bill Belichick said about Parker before last year’s game against the dolphins,“He’s a big athlete that runs well, has good hands, good run-after-the-catch ability, and good quickness for his size. He presents a lot of problems on deep balls.” According to Patspulpit, “Parker offers a size element that none of the Patriots’ wideouts last year had.” Parker also gives a legit target for Mac Jones entering his second year. Jones seems especially happy at the recent trade as he Tweeted,” Lets go!! Welcome to NEP!”
Adding Parker also has other advantages. The Patriots don’t have to use a first round draft pick on a wide out. The Pats have other needs at interior O-line with Ted Karas and Shaq Mason leaving in free agency. Similarly, after losing all-pro corner J.C Jackson, the Pats could look to draft a corner like Florida’s Kaiir Elam or Auburn’s Roger McCreary. Staying on the defensive side, the Patriots could address their lack of speed at the linebacker position by drafting Georgia linebacker Nakobi Dean.
Adding Devante Parker isn’t just a good move, it is a great move. By adding a veteran leader in the locker room who has the ability to be a true number on receiver and playmaker, the patriots offense became dramatically more dynamic. It also allows the Pats to fill other needs in the draft in hopes of making the Patriots a contender to challenge for the AFC East title.