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Patriots Roster Breakdown: Will DeVante Parker Be Back?



New England Patriots wide receiver DeVante Parker

There are expected to be a lot of changes in the New England Patriots locker room before the 2024 season gets underway. The coaching staff has already seen significant turnover, most notably with Jerod Mayo replacing Bill Belichick as the Patriots head coach.

But what will the New England roster look like in the fall? Some of that will be determined by players not currently on the team. The NFL Draft and free agency will both bring new faces to Foxboro. But what about the players?

Patriots Football Now will look at all potential players under the team’s control before Week 1 arrives in September. Today’s Patriots Roster Breakdown featured player: DeVante Parker.

DeVante Parker

Parker is a 31-year-old wide receiver who just completed his second season in New England. He finished 2023 with 33 receptions and 394 receiving yards. He did not score any touchdowns. Parker has played in 26 games over two seasons with the Patriots. He has caught a total of 64 passes for 933 yards and three touchdowns. These numbers would be significantly more encouraging if they were accomplished in just one year.

DeVante Parker had a career year with the Miami Dolphins in 2019. He had 72 receptions, 1,202 yards, and nine touchdowns that season. This year marks five years since that campaign, however, and Parker has been trending in the wrong direction ever since.

Pro Football Focus viewed Parker unfavorably in 2023. His offensive grade for the season was 61.2, easily the worst of his career. For reference, a grade below 70.0 isn’t considered worthy of starting. A grade below 60.0 represents being replaceable by a non-roster player. Not encouraging.

Contract Status

DeVante Parker signed a lucrative contract to come to New England, one which still has two years remaining. However, 2025 has no guaranteed money. So for the sake of this discussion, Parker is on virtually a one-year deal if the Patriots are looking to part ways.

New England Patriots salary cap expert Miguel Benzan explained the various scenarios for cutting ties with Parker. Cutting DeVante Parker before June 1 would create a significant dead cap hit for the Patriots (more than $6.2 million) without gaining any actual cap space from the transaction. Trading him would open up space (over $2.1 million) but the Patriots would need to give a team a draft pick or cap relief of their own for that to happen.

If the Patriots do wait until after June 1 to cut Parker, they would be able to spread the dead cap over the next two seasons. That is roughly $3.1 million per year. The idea of eating that much money is not attractive, but holding onto Parker is not necessarily a more attractive option at this point.

Wide Receiver Group

New England has seven wide receivers under team control for 2024. DeVante Parker joins DeMario Douglas, JuJu Smith-Schuster, Tyquan Thornton, Kayshon Boutte, T.J. Luther, and Kawaan Baker in that group. Despite having seven wide receivers potentially lined up already, only DeMario Douglas is a lock to remain with the team.

The 2024 NFL Draft has a lot of talent at the wide receiver position. The free agency class and trade market will also give the Patriots plenty of opportunities to upgrade the unit. New England’s own free agent Kendrick Bourne expressed a desire to return. At least two players will be added to this group and expected to play a significant role.

Outlook for DeVante Parker

Parker has had a disappointing first two years in New England. His most memorable play has been the deep ball he dropped against the Las Vegas Raiders last season. However, it serves no benefit to the team to part ways with Parker before June 1. And if he’s not going to be cut before June 1, why not allow him an opportunity to try and make a splash in a contract year? Look for DeVante Parker to be in the mix for the New England Patriots in training camp, with no guarantee of a roster spot.

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