Well, the Patriots did make the news for handing out a new contract to a wide receiver, but it's not DeAndre Hopkins, not yet anyway. Ian Rappaport revealed not too long ago that DeVante Parker has secured a new bag to the tune of three years and 33 million dollars, with 14 million in guarantees. Quite the reward for the veteran after a strong showing in the offseason program, but does this move set the Patriots' receiver room in stone heading into training camp?
Why the DeVante Parker Extension Makes Sense for New England
Before today, the only two Patriots receivers that were signed beyond the 2023 season were Juju Smith-Schuster and Tyquan Thornton, so right away, this makes a ton of sense for all involved parties. Secondly, Parker fills a role that no one else in the receiver room with his ability to be as successful as he is in jump ball situations. There was no less than five times this last season when he made legitimate highlight-reel plays against press down the boundary, despite being a very inconsistent contributor on the whole.
The injury concerns with Parker are, of course, well documented with this being said. He missed five games in 2022, including three of the last four due to a concussion that was notably missed by the league's spotters during the Patriot's MNF tilt in Arizona. Furthermore, Parker has missed at least three games a season and 12 games total since his career-best 2019 campaign. But when he was out there and put in a position to succeed, he usually got the job. 99th percentile in drop rate (very good), 98th percentile in average depth of target and receding grade against 1-on-1 coverage, and 91st percentile against zone via Marcus Mosher of PFF.
Does this Extension Rule Out the Possibility of a DeAndre Hopkins Signing?
The short answer to this question is no. However, it wouldn't be wrong to read into this move as it relates to the current free agent. But fret not, as ESPN's Mike Reiss says that this move isn't indicative of any news to come on the Hopkins front. He also says that this deal brings his base salary down a tad from 5.7 million over the next three seasons each, but Parker will have the opportunity to match and possibly exceed the number based on roster and performance bonuses.
All this is to say this helps out the Patriots in the salary cap (is fake) department, with an estimated 3.7 million freeing up (real cash number is what matters). So while I wouldn't hold my breath, I'd take the recent news of the Patriots being the front runners for Hopkins as very good, even now that Parker is locked up.
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