Every year I always seem to be surprised by a player coming back when I think they are going to be released or leave as a free agent. This year I felt the Miami Dolphins were going to release wide receiver DeVante Parker because he had been a disappointment since being the team’s first round pick in 2015. There have been a lot of reasons for this injuries, bad chemistry with the quarterback, or lack of confidence from the head coach. The Dolphins could have saved 9 million in cap space, but new coach Brian Flores wanted to bring him back for a fresh start, so the Dolphins extended his contract to a cap friendly deal with the team and give Parker a chance with the new coaching staff.
Like a lot of players, Parker got off to a slow start, but things started to change in the 4th game when he scored a touchdown in 3 straight games. Then when the Dolphins went back to Ryan Fitzpatrick at quarterback, he became the primary target on offense. Fitzpatrick gave him a lot of chances on 50-50 balls to take advantage of his size and Parker has been making plays. The Dolphins lost rookie receiver Preston Williams for the season with a torn ACL and other injuries have decimated the core, but Parker has taken advantage of his opportunities. He has already set a career high in touchdowns with 6 and should easily surpass his career totals in receptions and receiving yards. It’s been quite a surprise this season.
To Parker’s credit, he has worked hard, has stayed healthy, and been consistent. He has always had the talent but hasn’t been able to stay healthy or consistent and that’s been so frustrating to see as a fan. There was also talk that he didn’t have chemistry with his former quarterback Ryan Tannehill and frankly he wouldn’t be the only one that had chemistry issues with him. However, that isn’t the case with Fitzpatrick who knows how to get the ball into the hands of his play makers and Parker is benefiting big time. What made today’s game against the Philadelphia Eagles more amazing is the team is terrible running the ball and the Dolphins are so banged up at receiver he was pretty much the only healthy receiver today, but he was still able to make plays.
Parker has one more year on his contract, but he is more of a lock to come back next year unlike last year. I don’t know what happen with him with previous coach Adam Gase, but he is really embraced the change with Flores and fitting in. It’s been fun to see him play up to the talent we have all expect from him. Now let’s hope this can continue the final 4 games and beyond.