While he hasn't quite lived up to his status as the 14th overall pick from the 2015 draft, Parker has done enough to convince Miami that he's worth keeping under contract through 2019, given that his salary will only be guaranteed if an injury prevents him from passing a physical next offseason. He has a shot to replace Jarvis Landry as the top receiving threat in Adam Gase's offense, though free-agent additions Albert Wilson and Danny Amendola leave the Dolphins at least four-deep at wide receiver, with Kenny Stills also a clear part of the plan. Gase said in March that he still has full confidence in Parker, noting that the 25-year-old wideout was severely impacted by an ankle injury last season. The return of Ryan Tannehill (knee) should help, after Parker averaged only 11.8 yards on 57 receptions last season while playing with Jay Cutler, Matt Moore and David Fales.
Dolphins head coach Adam Gase is confident in Parker's ability and believes health is the only major concern, Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald reports. "I don't even think it's a potential thing," Gase said Tuesday when he was asked if he's beyond the point of talking about Parker's potential. "It's health. It's however we can keep him healthy. That's when we get our best DeVante Parker. We need a little bit of luck. We need him to do the right things. He has been. He has been trying to do everything the right away."
The 14th overall pick from the 2015 draft has a shot to replace Jarvis Landry as Miami's go-to target, though the recent addition of Albert Wilson and Danny Amendola on sizable contracts suggests the Dolphins expect at least four wideouts (including Kenny Stills) to have significant roles. Volume wasn't even Parker's problem last season, as he averaged 7.9 targets in the 12 games he was able to finish, landing between 63 and 89 receiving yards in eight of those contests. Of course, he completely disappeared to the tune of two catches for 10 yards combined in Weeks 12 and 13, and a lack of big plays (long gain of 36) limited his weekly ceiling. Gase hinted that an October ankle injury was a big part of the problem, though it's nothing out of the ordinary for a player who's missed at least one game every season since his sophomore year at Louisville in 2012.
Parker will face more pressure to produce with Jarvis Landry leaving Miami, Sean Wagner-McGough reports.
The 2015 first-round pick has shown flashes of living up to his draft status, most notably closing out his rookie season with 286 yards the final three weeks. He also enjoyed a strong start and decent finish in 2017, but had just two games with more than 26 yards from Weeks 5 through 14, in part due to an ankle injury and poor quarterback play. Landry's exit from Miami frees up a boatload of targets, and the return of Ryan Tannehill (knee) and hiring of offensive coordinator Dowell Loggains could also be positive developments for the 25-year-old Parker. The Dolphins will soon need to make a decision regarding the fifth-year option on his rookie contract.
Parker is slated to work under a new offensive coordinator in Dowell Loggains next season, Chris Perkins of the Sun Sentinel reports. Loggains, who served as the Bears offensive coordinator the last two seasons, worked with Miami coach Adam Gase in 2015. He'll replace Clyde Christensen, who will remain with the Dolphins in a different role.
Big things were expected of Parker heading into the 2017 season, but the 2015 first-rounder largely underwhelmed, hauling in 57 of his 96 targets for 670 yards and a TD in 13 games. At 24 years of age, Parker still has the talent to put things together in 2018, but in order to do so he'll have to avoid the sort of nagging injuries that have slowed him through his first three years as a pro. Perhaps Loggains will find ways to maximize Parker's skills, plus the wideout's prospects could be boosted by the return of quarterback Ryan Tannehill (knee), who spent this past season on IR. Moreover, Jarvis Landry, who caught 112 passes on 160 targets this past season, is slated to become an unrestricted free agent, and if he doesn't re-sign with Miami, there would be added opportunities for the likes of Parker and Kenny Stills, as well as Jakeem Grant and Leonte Carroo.
Parker (ankle) is listed as active for Sunday's game against the Bills.
Parker, who caught five passes (on 10 targets) for 63 yards in the Dolphins' Week 16 loss to the Chiefs, will look to finish out his 2017 season on a high note in a contest that the Bills must win, but that carries no playoff implications for the Dolphins. The 2015 first-rounder has been seeing enough volume of late for that to potentially occur, having racked up 11 catches on 22 targets for a combined 152 yards over his last two outings.
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