The New England Patriots simply couldn’t justify entering the offseason workout program without addressing the wide receiver position. We’d even go as far as to say that they couldn’t enter this month’s draft without adding at least one more player to the rotation.
After bypassing countless big-name free agents, Bill Belichick took to the trade market to quip Mac Jones with another weapon.
The de facto general manager has often relied on trades to bail him out of unappetizing WR situations, and this one figures to pan out better than the failed Mohamed Sanu experiment back in 2019.
On Saturday, the Patriots acquired DeVante Parker and a 2022 fifth-round pick in exchange for a 2023 third-rounder.
Having become superfluous after the Dolphins signed Cedrick Wilson in free agency and subsequently traded for Tyreek Hill, Parker has the chance to become the new No. 1 in New England’s offense.
On paper, it’s a solid move for the Patriots, but it leaves Belichick and the rest of the front office with two burning question marks.
Examining potential domino effects after the Patriots acquired DeVante Parker from the Dolphins.
The two questions are intertwined. The first has to do with Nelson Agholor and where he sits after the trade.
With Parker, Kendrick Bourne and Jakobi Meyers expected to be the three starters, Agholor suddenly finds himself on the periphery of the rotation. Could this prompt the Patriots to try and trade the 28-year-old to dump his $14.882 salary, which is the third-highest on the team? We wouldn’t rule it out.
After all, trading Agholor (before or after June 1) would save the team $9.882 million against the cap and the team would accrue just $5 million in dead money, whereas cutting him would save just $4.8 million in cap space and come with an even $10 million in dead money.
At the very least, Agholor could be on his way out, which leads us to the second potential domino effect: should the Patriots still draft a wide receiver early after acquiring Parker from Miami?
The answer obviously hinges on Agholor’s future, but we’d definitely like to see Belichick nab a receiver with one of the team’s first three picks. If one of Chris Olave, Jameson Williams or Treylon Burks is available at pick No. 21, then by all means add more firepower.
With a foursome of Parker, Bourne, Meyers and a potential draftee, the Patriots would have the flexibility to cut/trade N’Keal Harry and let Ty Montgomery and Kristian Wilkerson fill out the fifth and sixth spots, respectively.
If New England goes offensive linemen or cornerback in Round 1, the No. 54 selection should be used on a wideout, whether it be North Dakota State’s Christian Watson, Georgia’s George Pickens, Purdue’s David Bell, Cincinnati’s Alec Pierce or Alabama’s John Metchie.
We’ll know soon enough what the Patriots do with this newfound flexibility. Given Belichick’s track record, anything is on the table.