DeVante Parker

AFC East Notes: Watson, White, Pats

The much-discussed Deshaun Watson trade between the Dolphins and Texans never came to fruition, in part because Dolphins owner Stephen Ross wanted Watson to settle the 22 civil suits that have been brought against him. As Jeff Howe of The Athletic writes, Ross also wanted to speak with Watson directly and requested permission to do so, but because there was no chance that Watson’s legal situation would be resolved by the November 2 trade deadline, there was no point in having a conversation just yet.

However, if Houston and Miami reopen talks this offseason, it seems that a sit-down between Ross and Watson will be necessary before a deal can be struck.

Now for more from the AFC East, starting with another item out of South Beach:

  • Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald wonders if the Dolphins will consider parting ways with WR DeVante Parker this offseason. Though Parker has been effective when he has been on the field in 2021, he is now on IR and has played in just five games this year. Plus, the ‘Fins could save $6.2MM by making him a post-June 1 cut, though that would leave the club with even more work to do to address the receiving corps, as Will Fuller and Albert Wilson are not expected to be back. Jackson does believe Mack Hollins will be retained.
  • Jets QB Mike White, who led the club to a surprising win over the Bengals in Week 8 and who was playing well in New York’s Week 9 loss to the Colts before he was forced out with an early injury, is hugely popular in the Gang Green locker room, per Rich Cimini of ESPN.com. White’s journey and attitude have earned the respect of his teammates and have energized the building, and as Cimini writes in a separate piece, the 2018 fifth-rounder may have already made himself a nice chunk of change. He is playing the 2021 season on a one-year, $850K contract, but he will become a restricted free agent at season’s end. He should at least be in line for an original-round tender of $2.4MM, and he could force the Jets to tender him at the second-round level, which would net him $3.9MM.
  • It certainly didn’t create many headlines, but the Patriots plucked LB Calvin Munson off the Dolphins‘ practice squad several weeks ago. The 26-year-old has only seen action on special teams with his new club, but New England clearly thinks highly of him. Per Mike Reiss of ESPN.com, the Pats gave Munson a contract that runs though 2022 and that included a bit of a pay bump. A number of the Patriots’ off-ball linebackers are slated for free agency at the end of the year, so Munson could have a shot at more significant playing time next season.
  • Patriots DL Byron Cowart opened the season on the reserve/PUP list. Though he returned to practice in October, the 21-day window for activating him off the PUP list has expired, as veteran NFL writer Aaron Wilson tweets. As such, Cowart, who started 14 games last year, will be forced to miss the entire 2021 campaign.

Dolphins To Move DeVante Parker To IR

Although DeVante Parker made his return from injury in Week 8, the Dolphins will again be without the veteran wide receiver for an extended stretch. The team will place Parker on IR, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets.

This will sideline Parker for at least three games. The seventh-year wideout experienced a setback with his hamstring in practice this week. Parker had missed time due to a hamstring problem earlier this year but returned last week, catching eight passes for 85 yards against the Bills. This will leave Tua Tagovailoa without a key weapon in the near future.

Will Fuller remains on Miami’s IR list. The Dolphins’ hopes of outfitting Tagovailoa with a Parker-Fuller-Jaylen Waddle receiving trio have not materialized much this season. Fuller, who is currently down with a broken finger, has played in just two games for the Dolphins. Parker has suited up for five this season. The latter has 25 receptions for 327 yards and a touchdown. The Dolphins have Parker signed to an extension that runs through 2023. Fuller is signed only through season’s end.

While the Dolphins not trading for Deshaun Watson bought Tagovailoa some time, he is still on an unusual timetable for a second-year player chosen in the top five. The Dolphins being the only known team for which Watson waived his no-trade clause makes them the clear favorites for the embattled passer in 2022, when talks are expected to resume. Tua continuing to be without key weaponry stands to affect his chances of impressing during this season’s stretch run.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Teams Calling On Dolphins’ DeVante Parker

Dolphins wide receiver DeVante Parker is drawing trade interest, according to NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport. With the trade deadline coming on Tuesday, inquiring teams have just ~48 hours to get a deal done.

[RELATED: Texans Unlikely To Trade Cooks]

Despite Parker’s underwhelming first four seasons, the Dolphins re-upped him twice. First, they locked him up through 2020 via a two-year, $10MM agreement. Then, towards the end of 2019, they inked him to a three-year extension worth up to $40MM. The jury is still out on the latest contract.

In 2020, Parker registered just 12.6 yards per catch, a sharp drop from his 2019 watermark of 16.7 yards on average. Through the first seven weeks of this season, injuries limited Parker to just four games, 17 catches, and 242 yards. However, Parker returned with a vengeance against the Bills today — as of this writing, he’s leading all ‘Fins WRs with eight catches for 85 yards.

Despite the health issues, Parker profiles as an intriguing playmaker for contenders in need of a mid-season boost. He’s also relatively inexpensive, since he’d only be owed the prorated portion of his $7.75MM base salary in 2021.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Dolphins Lose $8MM In Cap Space

Although the Dolphins have not signed a single player to a standard 2021 contract this month, the club has still lost about $8MM in cap space, as Barry Jackson and Adam Beasley of the Miami Herald report. That’s because a few players hit incentives in their contracts that increased their 2021 cap charges.

For instance, WR DeVante Parker‘s 2021 cap number increased from $11MM to $12MM, while safety Eric Rowe‘s number grew from $5.05MM to $6.05MM. As such, Miami now has $25.4MM of cap space, assuming the cap floor of $180MM does not increase.

That’s not an insignificant amount of wiggle room, but the Dolphins do have a number of high-value draft picks, including the Nos. 3 and 18 overall selections and two second-round choices. If they keep all of those picks, Miami would need to allocate about $11.9MM for its draft class, per Jackson and Beasley. That doesn’t leave a ton of space for the team to conduct the rest of its offseason business.

After all, the ‘Fins will need to sign a wide receiver, a backup QB, and several linebackers, and they will also need to re-sign C Ted Karras or acquire a new center (though Jackson and Beasley say the club is high on Wisconsin-Whitewater OL Quinn Meinerz, Miami is not going to deploy a D-III rookie as its starting pivot).

The Dolphins do have plenty of options to create additional room, including cutting safety Bobby McCain or restructuring the contract of linebacker Kyle Van Noy. And the situation would be completely altered if the club were to trade for Texans QB Deshaun Watson, which appears to be a legitimate possibility.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

WR Notes: Godwin, Lions, Broncos, Bateman

A bevy of wide receiver news has surfaced Friday, with several key weapons either out or likely to be shelved for Week 2. Here is the latest from the wideout ranks:

  • The Buccaneers have given Chris Godwin a doubtful designation. The contract-year wide receiver displayed concussion-like symptoms Wednesday, after absorbing a late-game hit in last week’s loss to the Saints, and remains in Tampa Bay’s protocol. Godwin has missed just two career games.
  • For a second straight week, the Lions will be without Kenny Golladay. Joining Godwin as a contract-year standout on the verge of a big payday, Golladay will miss another game because of a hamstring malady.
  • The Broncos will have their first- and second-round picks together in game action this week, with K.J. Hamler set to join Jerry Jeudy. Vic Fangio said Hamler will play. The second-rounder sustained a hamstring injury during training camp. Denver may have to wait for any Jeudy-Hamler-Courtland Sutton formations, however, with the Broncos’ No. 1 target remaining questionable with a sprained AC joint.
  • During Week 1, DeVante Parker aggravated a hamstring issue he initially encountered during training camp. The Dolphins‘ No. 1 target is questionable to play Sunday.
  • The Texans worked out Devin Smith this week, Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle notes. The Cowboys cut Smith, a former Jets second-round pick, as they trimmed their roster to 53 players. Now 28, Smith has just 15 career receptions since being a coveted prospect in 2015.
  • An interesting situation has emerged at the University of Minnesota, one of several Big Ten teams who saw an impact talent opt out and declare for the 2021 draft. First-round wide receiver prospect Rashod Bateman opted out this summer, but the high-end target is angling to return now. Bateman is back on campus but has signed with an agent, per Yahoo’s Pete Thamel (on Twitter). Due to the unusual circumstances the COVID-19 pandemic has created — particularly in the Big Ten, which announced an October restart this week — the Golden Gophers are attempting to secure a waiver from the NCAA to allow Bateman to play.

Dolphins Sign DeVante Parker To Extension

Months after DeVante Parker agreed to a through-2020 extension with the Dolphins, the breakout wideout is nearing another agreement.

The Dolphins and their top receiver are close on a deal that would keep Parker in Miami through 2023, Jeremy Fowler of ESPN.com tweets. The Louisville alum is set to sign the contract, according to Cameron Wolfe of ESPN.com (on Twitter). The team announced the agreement.

The deal will be worth more than $40MM, Tom Pelissero of NFL.com reports (via Twitter), adding that the agreement is believed to be high on guarantees. That would seemingly be necessary in order to convince Parker not to bet on himself in 2021 free agency. This contract will include an $8MM signing bonus, and the Miami Herald’s Barry Jackson reports (via Twitter) it will be worth up to $40MM. Both Parker’s 2020 and 2021 salaries will be fully guaranteed, which represents nice security for a former first-rounder who was heading toward bust status before this season.

Despite Parker’s underwhelming first four seasons, the Dolphins’ new power structure retained him through 2020 via a two-year, $10MM agreement. The 26-year-old wideout has far outperformed expectations this season, catching 55 passes for a career-high 882 yards and six touchdowns. He’s been perhaps the top bright spot on a rebuilding Dolphins team. This comes after years of the 2015 first-round pick being a trade candidate.

Although Miami jettisoned numerous veterans this year, the team has extended multiple veterans in-season. Allen Hurns and Eric Rowe signed extensions in recent weeks, though neither deal was in Parker’s price range. This pact would place Parker among the middle class at wide receiver. Twenty-four receivers earn at least $10MM annually, and the Dolphins will now employ one of them.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Make-Or-Break Year: Dolphins WR DeVante Parker

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.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Dolphins, DeVante Parker Agree To Extension

The Dolphins have been quiet so far in free agency, but they’re on the verge of locking up one of their own. Miami is “closing in on” a two-year extension with receiver DeVante Parker, according to Tom Pelissero of NFL Network (Twitter link).

In a separate tweet, Pelissero reports the two-year deal will be worth up to $13MM including incentives. It’s been a tumultuous ride for Parker in Miami. A first round pick in 2015, he had been heading into the final year of his rookie deal after the Dolphins picked up his fifth-year option last year. He had been widely expected to be cut this offseason, so this is a bit of a surprise.

A new front office and coaching staff is in place in Miami, and they want to give Parker one more shot to get things figured out. Parker has always been high on talent, but has been plagued by injuries and inconsistent playing time. Notably, Parker was at the center of an incident last season where his agent publicly blasted then Dolphins coach Adam Gase.

Seemingly every year, Parker has been hyped as a breakout candidate during training camp, but it’s never materialized. The Louisville product reeled in 24 balls for 304 yards and one touchdown in 11 games last year. The 304 yards were by far the lowest of his career, and the year before he had 670. The old coaching staff never really seemed to believe in Parker, so it’s definitely possible he’ll fare better under new coach Brian Flores.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Dolphins Likely To Cut Quinn, Parker

Major changes are coming in Miami. This offseason, the Dolphins are expected to cut defensive end Robert Quinn (saving $12.9MM against the cap), defensive end Andre Branch (saving $7MM, $2MM in dead money) and wide receiver DeVante Parker ($9.4MM savings), according to Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald

Naturally, the upheaval won’t stop there, but the Dolphins have some big decisions to make on significant contracts in the coming weeks and months. Ryan Tannehill is likely done in South Beach and players like defensive tackle Akeem Spence ($2.5MM cap savings) and guard Ted Larsen ($1.9MM) could also be dropped from the roster, Jackson hears.

And, if the Dolphins really want to turn over a new leaf, they may decide against retaining unrestricted free agents like Frank Gore and Cameron Wake and move on from receiver Danny Amendola, whose entire $6MM cap hit can be washed out. Jackson adds that the future of veterans like guard Josh Sitton and safety T.J. McDonald is also in question.

Quinn, 29 in May, came to Miami via a spring trade with the Rams. The former first-round pick notched 6.5 sacks and 38 tackles, but graded out as just the No. 42 ranked edge defender in the NFL per Pro Football Focus. Branch, meanwhile, was one of the lowest-ranked DEs out of 108 qualified players.

Parker was once viewed as the team’s future at wide receiver, but injuries have hampered his progress over the last four years. This year, he managed just 24 catches for 309 yards and a touchdown in eleven games.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

AFC East Notes: Dolphins, Tannehill, Parker, Bills, Ivory, Jets, Maccagnan, Bowles

The Dolphins will have a lot of tough decisions to make this offseason, including what to do with Ryan Tannehill. Tannehill is set to have a cap hit of over $26MM in 2019, hasn’t been able to stay healthy, and hasn’t been great on the field even when he is. Deciding Tannehill’s fate “clearly tops” the list of Miami’s priorities for the offseason, according to Adam Beasley of The Miami Herald, who writes “Tannehill would need to be exceptional when he returns from his shoulder injury” for the Dolphins to bring him back at that salary next year.

Tannehill missed the end of the 2016 season with a torn ACL, then missed all of the 2017 season when he re-tore the ACL. This year, Tannehill started the first five games, then went down with a mysterious shoulder injury. He’s been sidelined for four games, and it’s not clear when he’s coming back. It’s still very early, but at this point it would be a surprise if Tannehill is brought back at his current cap number. For what it’s worth, Beasley writes that the Dolphins like Saints quarterback Teddy Bridgewater.

Here’s more from the AFC East:

  • Speaking of decisions the Dolphins have to make, they’ll also have to decide the fate of receiver DeVante Parker and right tackle Ja’Wuan James this offseason, according to Beasley. Parker is owed $9.4MM next year, and Beasley writes that keeping him “seems unlikely now, but if he strings together several games like the one last Thursday in Houston (six catches, 134 yards), it becomes a strong consideration.” James will be a free agent after this season, and Beasley writes that “unless he’s great the final eight games, the Dolphins again figure to explore outside options” this March.
  • The Bills’ offense has already been an injured mess this year, and they got even more bad news today. Running back Chris Ivory “was taken to Erie County Medical Center, a level 1 trauma center, for evaluations on his left shoulder”, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL Network (Twitter link). It’s unclear the exact nature of the injury, but it seems clear Ivory will miss some time, and he’s been playing a fairly big role in the offense lately.
  • Jets GM Mike Maccagnan “was noticeably less effusive” when talking about Todd Bowles in his ‘state of the team’ press availability than he was in last year’s availability, according to Rich Cimini of ESPN.com. Cimini thinks that Maccagnan “is safe, no matter what” and is trying to separate himself from Bowles and from the narrative that the two are joined at the hip, in case Bowles needs to be fired. Bowles is on a very hot seat, and it wouldn’t be surprising if a change is made soon with the Jets suffering another loss today.