DeVante Parker Trade: Did Dolphins move WR to keep QB options open in 2023?

In a rare intra-divisional trade, the New England Patriots have acquired WR DeVante Parker from the Miami Dolphins.

The Miami Dolphins’ decision to trade DeVante Parker to the New England Patriots is more about the future than the present. The Dolphins were willing to risk Parker having success with a division rival if it gave them ultimate flexibility in next year’s NFL Draft — giving them more than enough assets to move up for a quarterback, if need be.

Miami Dolphins trade DeVante Parker to New England Patriots

The terms, as first reported by ESPN: The Dolphins are sending Parker and this year’s fifth-round pick (158th overall) to New England for a third-rounder in 2023.

As a result, the Dolphins do not have a single one of their own draft picks in 2022. They dealt their first and second-rounders to Kansas City in the Tyreek Hill trade, and on Saturday, dealt away their last remaining pick not acquired from another team.

The Dolphins currently have four selections in the 2022 Draft: Picks 102 (from San Francisco), 125 (from Pittsburgh), 225 (from Houston), and 248 (from Tennessee).

But it’ll be completely different a year from now. They now have five selections in the first three rounds, including two picks in both the first and third rounds (from San Francisco and New England, respectively).

It doesn’t take Sherlock Holmes to figure out their plan. They’ve loaded up in 2022 to get a fair evaluation of Tua Tagovailoa. If he thrives, the Dolphins have their franchise quarterback. If he does not, they have a huge draft haul in 2023 to draft his replacement.

Next year is expected to be a far better quarterback draft class than 2022, with Ohio State’s C.J. Stroud and Alabama’s Bryce Young the best of the group expected to be available.

Parker’s underwhelming time in Miami is over

The Dolphins gave Parker every opportunity to succeed. They gave him not one, but two new contracts, even though he had just 9 touchdown catches in his first four NFL seasons.

Parker’s career year came in 2019 when he caught 72 balls for 1,202 yards and 9 TDs. But in the two seasons since, he’s missed 14 games due to injury and has caught 103 total passes for 1,308 yards and 6 scores.

Trading Parker — who became expendable after the Hill trade — frees up an additional $3.3 million in cap space. The Patriots inherit his $5.7 million base salary. He joins a crowded New England wide receiver room that includes Nelson Agholor, Kendrick Bourne, Jakobi Meyers (a restricted free agent), and N’Keal Harry.

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