The Miami Dolphins traded former first round pick DeVante Parker and a 5th round pick in 2022 to the Patriots in exchange for a 2023 3rd round pick. After trading for Tyreek Hill, the Dolphins found themselves in a surplus position at wide receiver, which made Parker expendable at his cap hit of nearly $9 million.
New England is expected to receive an extra compensatory 3rd round pick in 2023 after losing J.C. Jackson in free agency, which will help mitigate the asset they gave up in this exchange.
“It is interesting that the Patriots rarely invested resources in WR with Brady,” said former Philadelphia Eagles President Joe Banner. “They clearly realize that Jones will need more support at the position.”
Parker’s lack of value in the Special Teams realm made keeping him as a depth piece an impossibility, but with another franchise he clearly has value as a starter.
“Parker should go to the Patriots and immediately become their top WR due to his combination of size, physicality and contested catch/high-point ability,” said Mike Tannenbaum, the former Dolphins EVP who helped draft Parker in 2015. Parker’s 57 contested catches since 2019 are the most in the NFL.
One factor at play with Parker is his health. The 29-year-old has appeared in every regular season game just once in his career and was limited to eight games last year. The Patriots will likely play him on the outside and capitalize on the value that he brings in the red zone and in contested situations. They will now be able to move Jakobi Meyers, Nelson Agholor and other pieces around the offense while Parker mans the X receiver role. He should create a presence and a reliability for second-year quarterback Mac Jones.
“With Parker’s ability to run slants, his red zone ability and big catch radius, Jones now has a weapon who can compete aggressively at catch point,” said Tannenbaum.
Parker has been a problem for the Patriots to deal with in his time in Miami. In the 12 games in which he’s faced Bill Belichick’s defense, he has collected 42 receptions on 71 targets for 597 yards and 1 TD. Most notably, Parker managed to reel in 8 receptions on 11 targets for 137 yards while also averaging 2.6 yards of separation against the Patriots in Week 17 of the 2019 season where the Dolphins upset New England in Foxboro. This game also saw Parker bring in 7 receptions on 8 targets when he was covered by 2019 DPOY Stephon Gilmore.
Most recently, in the 4 games he has played in against New England since the middle of 2019, he has averaged 4.5 receptions for 69.25 yards.
The Patriots and Dolphins have not been shy when it comes to sharing talent across the years with Kyle Van Noy, Ted Karras, and Isaiah Ford playing for both clubs over the past few seasons. Ford was traded to the Patriots for a 6th round pick in the middle of the 2020 NFL season.
Interdivisional trades never scared Banner, who traded Donovan McNabb from Philadelphia to Washington and traded with the Steelers while he was operating as CEO of the Browns.
While many teams have shied away from divisional trades in the past, Banner added that, “it takes a little arrogance to do so.”
“Don’t make a trade unless you believe you are winning it,” cautions Banner. “If you are winning a trade and do it in the division, not only are you gaining value, but you are weakening a primary opponent as well.”