New England Patriots

Why a DeVante Parker trade could make sense for Patriots

The motivation to trade Parker would be performance-based and financial.

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The New England Patriots need all the help they can get at wide receiver. But it's possible they could explore trading one of their top three wideouts from last season.

The Patriots "soon could be shopping" veteran wide receiver DeVante Parker, The Athletic's Jeff Howe and Chad Graff wrote Thursday, adding that fans should "look for the Patriots to dangle Parker in trade talks in the coming weeks even if they would get only a late-round pick in return."

The motivation for a Parker trade would be both performance-based and financial.

The 31-year-old came to New England in 2022 with expectations of being a No. 1 receiver but has largely disappointed, averaging just 2.5 catches and 35.9 yards per game over two seasons. He finished 2023 with just 394 yards on 33 catches while missing four games due to injury and took some heat in October for bristling at criticism of his crucial dropped pass in a loss to the Las Vegas Raiders.

Parker enters 2024 with a $6.5 million cap hit, second-most among Patriots receivers behind JuJu Smith-Schuster. If the Patriots flat-out release him, they'd be responsible for more than $6 million in dead cap money. If New England trades Parker before June 1, however, the team would free up more than $3 million in cap space.

As Howe and Graff point out, the return for Parker likely would be a Day 3 draft pick at best given his age and recent performance. But that still might be in the Patriots' best interest if they want to part ways with an aging, underperforming veteran and free up more cap space to pursue a high-end wideout like Calvin Ridley in free agency.

Parker also may want a fresh start after a rocky campaign in New England, so a trade might be in both sides' best interest.

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