1 – In a sense, Bill Belichick responded to calls from the media and fans last weekend by announcing New England’s trade for a wide Dolphin DeVante Parker receiver.
Nearly everyone who has spoken out about the Patriots this offseason has discussed the need for the team to reach a broad receiver position, preferably a target of №1, to help McJones take his game to the next level in his second season.
And Parker’s addition to the depth chart makes sense on most levels.
He really is a big name, a big body (6-3, 219) former choice in the first round on a fairly reasonable contract that pays him a salary of just over $ 5.5 million over the next two seasons with a corresponding salary limit of just over $ 6 million a year.
New England did not give up Parker, sending a choice in the third round to the Dolphins in exchange for a receiver and a choice in the fifth round.
Not bad for a target who in the best season caught 72 passes for 1202 yards (averaging 16.7) with nine touchdowns in his major NFL season in 2019.
For the Patriots team, which has questions about talent in terms of catching passes as it goes through a rather dim off-season, Parker is truly an intriguing addition.
But that doesn’t mean Parker doesn’t bring questions with him to Foxbar or that he answers all the questions the Patriots have. No.
First, 29-year-old Parker’s health and production have fallen over the past couple of years. That groundbreaking 2019 season was the only season in his seven-year career in which he was on the field in every game. Throughout his career, he has lost time due to various injuries, including nine games in the last two years.
There is also the question of whether he is, even at best, really the number one host. He has never been to the Pro Bowl. Only once in his career has he made over 70 catches or over 1,000 yards. And despite a nice salary, his former team has invested heavily in a wide-receiver position to draft Geylan Waddle in the first round last spring and swap to Tyrick Hill this offseason.
Belichyk and New England are unaware of what Parker can do for defense if he is healthy and leading his game. He made eight 137-yard catches against Stephen Gilmore when the Dolphins upset the Patriots, closing the 2019 regular season, one of three 100-yard games against New England in his career.
Parker is a good addition to the Patriots wide receiver kit. It brings size, experience and coup outside.
Optimistically, he is a proven receiver and player. He should and will almost certainly help New England in 2022 when he is healthy.
But Parker is not the true No. 1 receiver that most fans wanted to team up with Jones for the foreseeable future. At best, Parker is a talented veteran with an advantage over the next few seasons. At worst, he’s prone to injury, a complementary receiver who competes in a relatively crowded competition for a position that probably still lacks a real guy for Jones.
2 – It is worth considering whether adding Parker to the mix changes the need perceived by the Patriots when the receiver goes on an NFL draft later this month. Many fictitious drafts and analysts have speculated that New England could look at the receiver’s position at the start of the draft, perhaps even at number 21 overall. But the addition of Parker, constant rumors of Patriots ’interest in Odel Beckham Jr. and other major needs may make choosing a receiver in the first or second round a little less likely. It certainly depends on how the board falls on draft night, but it would be a shame if the Patriots handed over a young receiver with a true potential of № 1 simply because of the addition of veteran Parker. For a team that seems to follow a long-term approach to talent acquisition this offseason, adding a high-end novice receiver should still be the main focus if such value is there.
3 – This week, Patriots owner Robert Kraft took about 10 minutes to make many interesting comments at NFL meetings in Palm Beach, Florida. Much attention has been paid to Kraft, who complained about the lack of victory in the playoffs for the past three years. as well as his constant criticism of Belichik’s recent gloomy drafts to the success of the rebound last April in selecting young talent.
But it was just as interesting to hear Kraft talk about free agents from last year’s spending, “who didn’t show well” and “New England talent that wasn’t used”.
No matter what players Kraft might have hinted at – or a group of players – the first name that comes to mind is John Smith’s time and end.
Smith signed a four-year, $ 50 million contract in New England last March. He is the second paid pay end in football. Yet he had just 28 catches for 294 yards with one touchdown in Foxbour’s gloomy first season. He played in 16 games but failed to have a significant positive impact and was sometimes detrimental to the attack.
Of course, Smith never had more than 41 catches or 448 yards in any of the first four seasons in Tennessee. So it is debatable how much product he can offer that has not been “involved” or whether he is just what he is at the moment of his career. If the latter, then he could be one of the most overpaid players in the NFL with three seasons left over from his deal, which includes a limit of more than $ 13 million in 2022, making him the fourth largest on the team.
4 – Ahead of Smith on the Patriots payroll list is another frustration of a free agent in 2021 that Kraft could talk about in veteran Nelson Agolor. The former Eagle and Raider has a maximum price of just under $ 15 million. That’s a lot of money for a guy who caught just 37 passes on 473 yards with three touchdowns in 15 games played. With Parker’s arrival and the development of Jacob Meers and Kendrick Bourne in Agolor, there may not be too many extra chances to prove themselves or improve their worth this fall, the final year of a two-year contract that brought him to Las Vegas after the 2020 season. he averaged a career-high 18.7 yards per catch from the Raiders.
5 – Noting his disappointment at the return invested in the offensive last year, Kraft also said he hopes for a “change to take advantage” of what some of the low-performing players are doing best. Given that longtime Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDeniels has become the Raiders head coach this offseason, Kraft’s comments are particularly interesting. First, they can be seen as nothing more than a critique of McDeniels ’ability to get the most out of these players in his final season in New England. Given that the Patriots did not name a replacement for the offensive coordinator and decided to bring in former staff special forces coach Joe Judge and former defense coordinator Meta Patricia, it will be interesting to see who helps Belichik make changes in the attack and what those changes may be. Given the staff at the moment, it’s hard to see that the Patriots are now better equipped to maximize offensive talent than a year ago under McDeniels ’proven leadership.
6 – The NFL announced details of the league’s training program for the offseason this week. The first phase of the volunteer program begins on April 18 in New England, which includes two weeks of activities limited to meetings, power and air conditioning and rehabilitation. The second phase of the program includes three weeks of non-contact field training. The third phase involves 10 days of organized teamwork (OTAs) over four weeks, still without live contact. May 23-24, May 26, June 1-3, June 13-14 and June 16-17 the team is holding a mandatory veteran mini-camp.
7 – The NFL voted to change its overtime rules for post-season games last week. The updated rule guarantees both teams possession in overtime only in playoff games. While the change is seen as a direct response to the Chiefs ’victory over the Bills in the divisional round last January, in which Josh Allen of Buffalo never got a chance to touch the ball during an extra period of his epic shootout with Patrick Mohams, it not so. the only game in Kansas City that may have played a role in the new format. Fans of the Patriots will fondly remember the AFC title after the 2018 season, in which Tom Brady and Co. reached the Super Cup III thanks to a march of 13 games for 75 yards to open overtime with helpless spectators of Mahoms at Arrowhead Stadium. Unbiased fans of both classic playoff fights will probably agree to a rule change that could bring even more excitement, drama and history to these memorable matches.