The Miami Dolphins fan base loves to theorize about who should stay and who should go. With free agency now 3 and a half weeks away, naturally, it is time to start thinking about who we can release. The latest is DeVante Parker.
Parker had a great season two years ago and last year health was an issue, again. The Dolphins think enough of Parker that they gave him a big extension in 2019 that keeps in Miami until 2023. The problem is Parker’s fall off due to injury last year, he battled a hamstring throughout the year, which has Dolphins fans wondering if it is time to replace him.
The first question is if they could, should they? Parker has the size you want in a receiver and while he played far better with Ryan Fitzpatrick at QB, his work with Tua Tagovailoa this off-season should show benefits. Miami is believed to be in the market for one or two more receivers either in the draft or free agency. They won’t necessarily replace Parker but more likely compliment him or Tua.
Parker is the 4th highest-paid player on the Dolphins roster right now and that also means that he will likely not be a candidate for release or restructure. This season Parker will count a whopping $12 million against Miami’s cap. That makes for great water cooler talk if we are looking to gain more cap space but releasing Parker will only add $4 million to their space and the Dolphins will have to eat $8 million in dead money.
If Miami wants to get creative, they could release him with a post-June 1 designation. That would save $9.4 million in space and only $2.7 million in dead money. The downside is they don’t get those savings until June 1st.
Trading Parker won’t save much in space either but finding a trade partner might be difficult. Despite his injury history, the Dolphins would likely see Parker as a player of value and it is difficult to think other teams would be willing to pay what Miami might ask for.
Realistically, Parker is more likely to see his future questioned after the 2021 season should he not return to his 2019 form. Miami won’t get the most of his release until the final year of his deal in 2023. Miami would then save $6 million in space and only eat $2.7.
Honestly, Parker is an example of a contract that should have been structure differently given his history for nagging injuries. The good news is that Parker will have a full off-season of work with Tua Tagovailoa and that should help both of them and increase the production of Miami’s top receiver, so will getting Parker some more help to take focus off of him.