Who says bitter division rivals don’t work together on major trades? In a surprise move on Saturday, April 2, the New England Patriots agreed to send “late-round draft compensation” to the Miami Dolphins in exchange for wide receiver DeVante Parker, according to NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport.
Moments after Rapoport broke the story, ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported the Patriots were sending a future 2023 third-round pick to the Dolphins in exchange for Parker and a 2022 fifth-rounder.
The third-rounder isn’t quite as “late-round” as Patriots fans might have liked, but the Parker acquisition immediately vaults to the top of the most-impacting-moves-of-the-offseason list for New England.
New England had been extremely quiet this offseason with its biggest moves being the re-signing of veterans like Devin McCourty and Trent Brown, and modest signings of Jabrill Peppers and Ty Montgomery.
I’d written about the Patriots being linked to Parker a week ago. Belichick has long been fond of Parker from his days battling against the 29-year-old while he was a member of the Dolphins.
Now, Belichick will get an opportunity to admire Parker’s talents from the same side of the field.
Here’s some of the reaction from members of Patriots media after the Parker acquisition:
Matt Sottile of WMass calls Parker a “welcome addition.”
The 2019 campaign saw Parker put up his career-best–and only 1,000-yard receiving season. The nine TDs he scored were also his career-best. Patriots fans might also remember Parker going off for 8 receptions and 137 yards in the regular season finale despite the tight coverage from then-Patriots star Stephon Gilmore–who was on his way to Defensive Player of the Year honors.
Gilmore had locked Parker up for no catches, despite 7 targets in the early-season meeting that saw the Patriots win 43-0. With Miami out of the playoff race and playing spoiler in what would ultimately be Tom Brady’s final regular season game with the Patriots, Parker helped push the Dolphins to a 27-24 win over New England in Foxborough.
The loss cost New England a first-round bye and the Patriots lost their Wildcard matchup to the Tennessee Titans the following week at home.
ESPN’s Mike Reiss details Parker’s contract situation and the Patriots’ updated depth chart at wide receiver:
N’Keal Harry is listed here, but you have to wonder if the Patriots will be holding on to him.
Decision day is coming soon with the deadline for a Harry extension set for May 2. Some analysts have already predicted Harry’s days with the Patriots are numbered. With the acquisition of Parker, it would seem those days may have gotten shorter.
NFL Insider Dov Kleinman and NBC Sports’ Phil A. Perry chimed in to speak to the rarity of the in-division trade.
The Patriots may not have been the Dolphins’ first choice for a trade partner. However, with Belichick’s affinity for Parker, the willingness to part ways with a third-rounder, and the stacked set of weapons Miami has compiled this offseason, it all makes a bit more sense.
Why the Dolphins Could Afford to Trade Parker
The Dolphins drafted high-ceiling and productive receiver Jaylen Waddle last season. That acquisition was the first brick in the building of a formidable receiver-tight-end set-up for the Fins.
They maintained the services of tight end Mike Gesicki via the franchise tag and then dropped the hammer by swinging a blockbuster deal with the Kansas City Chiefs to add Tyreek Hill. Miami also decided to add Cedrick Wilson to the mix, which made Parker the obvious odd man out.
Miami has the depth to absorb the subtraction of Parker from the equation, and they can use the third-round pick to stabilize another position, perhaps even to acquire a backup plan in the event Tua Tagovailoa continues to display inconsistency.
What Parker Adds to the Patriots
Meanwhile, the Patriots get a 6-foot-3, 220-pound receiver who has shown the ability to be a No. 1 threat on the outside. That’s something New England has been searching for since Randy Moss left town more than a decade ago.
When you put Parker alongside Jakobi Meyers and Kendrick Bourne, the Patriots don’t look quite as deficient at wide receiver anymore.
Does that mean New England no longer has to select at least one wide receiver in the NFL Draft? No, but the selections don’t have quite as much pressure on them as they did before the Parker trade.
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