The New England Patriots may have taken a while to finally upgrade their wide receiver room, but they did make quite a seismic addition when they acquired DeVante Parker from the Miami Dolphins. He should be the instant No. 1 receiver when the regular season arrives in Foxborough.
Parker is the classic case of someone who just needed a fresh start. With Mike McDaniel coming in and the trade for Tyreek Hill making the former Chiefs star the No. 1 target in Miami, Parker needed to go somewhere that will feed him a steady diet of targets.
While he has suffered through some injuries and a rotation door of below-average quarterbacks last season, Parker has shown that he could be a dominant presence if he is firing on all cylinders. The Patriots seemed very interested in his potential, and Parker seemed keen on playing for Bill Belichick.
NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport made it clear that there was a great deal of mutual interest on both sides. Belichick reportedly wanted Parker for the longest time, while the Louisville alum made it clear that he is eyeing the challenge of being the top receiver in New England for years to come.
DeVante Parker wanted to play for the New England Patriots.
On one hand, Parker has just one season in which he topped 800 yards receiving. On the other, Parker led the AFC in receiving yards in 2019. When he has a less shaky quarterback situation and the experience of Belichick at his back, he could be more productive.
The biggest thing Parker brings to the table is his ability to win 50/50 balls. Since 2019, no one has more contested catches than Parker’s 57 despite the fact he only played in 10 games. This should make Mac Jones’ performance in the red zone even better. You can’t double Hunter Henry and Parker on the same play.
Parker is a bit of a rehabilitation project at the moment, as the Patriots were only able to acquire him for pennies on the dollar after he struggled to consistently connect with Tua Tagovailoa. However, the Patriots have turned around floundering wide receivers before, and they could do it again with Parker.
The fact that Parker wanted to leave a division rival for Belichick has to sting for a Dolphins team that did lose a valuable weapon for Tagovailoa. While he isn’t the speedy deep threat that this team needs, Parker should get targeted early and often by Jones and Joe Judge’s offense.