Among the key question marks headed into this Dolphins season is how the wide receiver corps will be used. New pieces Danny Amendola and Albert Wilson are surely going to have a significant role. However, there is a large cloud over Devante Parker. Obviously the former first round pick has shown flashes of ability to make incredible plays, but his inconsistency, inability to stay healthy, and work ethic have all come into question. Parker is also currently nursing a broken finger, which puts his week 1 status in question.
So what should the Dolphins do with Parker? Is he going to provide enough consistency and impactful play to warrant a starting receiver spot? Or, should they put him on the trade block? For me there are two main reasons why they should not trade Parker as of now.
Lack of Value
What are you going to get for him right now? Can you get a high draft pick? Could you get a #2 cornerback the team has been seeking from within? Can you get a starting quality linebacker? The answer to all of those is probably no. So would you sell low on a guy you invested a first round pick in just three seasons ago? I would not. Unless they get blown away by an offer, there’s no way to get value for him.
Keep in mind that he may walk for free next offseason if the team chooses not to pick up his 5th year option. While that is true, if you keep him and he’s healthy this entire season and produces, you have a good WR on your roster next year at a below market price, or you gauge the state of your team mid season and see what you can get for him at that point. We’ve seen Adam Gase not shy away from mid season trades in the past.
Lack of Alternatives
If Parker is not on the roster, the Dolphins passing game becomes a long list of short-to-intermediate range, undersized wide receivers. As evidenced in two preseason games, it would be a gargantuan task to build a downfield threat with Amendola, Wilson, and Jakeem Grant as the main threats.
For the sake of the offense, and for the benefit of the underneath weapons the other receivers possess, the Dolphins need a healthy, productive Parker to stretch the field and use his body in ways the other guys cannot.
Also, consider that Amendola has missed 33 games in his 9 year career. Wilson has missed 9 games in 4 years. The Dolphins’ depth at receiver, with five rotational guys at their disposal, should not be sacrificed unless the team is out of contention.
If the Dolphins have any chance to contend in a season where most “experts” have them pegged as one of the worst teams in the league, a breakout season from Devante Parker is going to be a key. You have to hope for a healthy, strong, determined Parker. That will mean the offense is probably good, and would at least gain value back if they’re out of it.
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