Can a player be on the verge of a “make-or-break year” right after signing an extension with their team? In the case of Dolphins wide receiver DeVante Parker – yes.
Parker is under contract with Miami through the 2020 season thanks to a new deal inked in March, but little is assured for the fifth-year pro. Initially, Parker was set to play out the 2019 season on his fifth-year option, which would have paid him $9.4MM. Instead, the Dolphins were poised to rip up that contract after another disappointing year, so they were able to leverage Parker into a lower-risk pact. Parker’s restructured deal guarantees him just $4.5MM in 2019 with a non-guaranteed $5MM in 2020.
In other words, the Dolphins stand to have a solid value in Parker if he is able to turn things around and live up to his billing as the No. 14 overall pick in the 2015 draft. Meanwhile, if he gets injured and/or underwhelms like he did in 2018, the Dolphins can walk and focus their resources elsewhere in 2020.
As the Dolphins enter a rebuilding season, they want to know what they have in Parker, a player who entered the league with tons of hype and wound up as the third WR selected in his draft class. The 26-year-old reportedly had a solid spring and new quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick may prove to be a better fit for his style than longtime starter Ryan Tannehill.
To date, Parker’s best season came in 2016, when he finished with 56 catches for 744 yards and four touchdowns. He’ll have to top that if he wants to continue to ply his craft in South Beach beyond this season.
If he falters, the Dolphins can decline his $5MM option for 2020 and walk away with no fiscal penalty.
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