The New England Patriots announced some wide receiver news this week, but it wasn’t the news fans have been sitting on their excitement to hear.
In an unexpected move, the Patriots extended veteran receiver DeVante Parker to a new 3-year contract worth up to $33 million. Talk about a move no one seen coming, but one that could make sense if the team ultimately ends up landing DeAndre Hopkins.
While the initial response to this extension was that the team was giving up on Hopkins with Parker’s new deal, it gives the Patriots more financial room if they still wanted the star which on the surface would seem to add redundancy to the position, which may not be as redundant as it seems.
With JuJu Smith-Schuster, Kendrick Bourne and second-year wide receiver Tyquan Thornton also in the mix, having both Parker and Hopkins would give Mac Jones quite the firepower around him and also a versatile group of receivers.
Coming off a first season with the Patriots in which he caught 31 passes for 539 yards and three touchdowns, Parker will need to bring it in 2023 even if the team adds Hopkins. Though he showed flashes of the receiver the Patriots were eager to trade for, health once again became an issue for Parker who tends to battle durability more than grabbing contested balls from defenders.
Obviously a move that doesn’t move the needle as far as getting some game changers on offense, but one that will make sense if Parker becomes more in the mix as a playmaker.
More Patriots contract News: Ja’Whaun Bentley gets two-year extension
A day after the Patriots extended Parker, news surfaced that the team gave starting linebacker Ja’Whaun Bentley a two-year extension worth $18.75 million with $9 million fully guaranteed.
Again, contract news that doesn’t move the needle for most Patriots fans, but a solid move for the defense that is now lacking leaders on defense following the retirement of Devin McCourty.
Bentley is no McCourty, but he has emerged as a leader in the locker room and on the field as a steady and key contributor on defense. In fact, the 26-year-old linebacker is coming off a solid season in 2022 in which he racked up 125 tackles, three sacks and one interception.
Although he does have some flaws, Bentley seemed to be in the middle big defensive plays whether it is sniffing out a run and getting into the backfield or exploding in on the quarterback as a blitzer. As Bentley was entering the final year of his contract, locking him up takes one of the team’s potential top free agents off the board.
Want your voice heard? Join the Chowder And Champions team!
As far as what to expect for Bentley in 2023. Well, more of the same as in 2022 and a year wiser. He should be solid against the run and get to the quarterback a bit more. In all, a sneaky good move for the Pats.
NFL Rumors: Patriots “intrigued” by Dalvin Cook
There may be something to the possibility of the Patriots adding Dalvin Cook to their backfield.
As the NFL offseason hits the month of July, there could be some roster fireworks about to go off in Foxborough. According to ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler, the idea of adding Cook to the offense is more than fan speculation and dreams.
"“New England, they need a running back. They like to have too good backs,” Fowler said, as transcribed by WEEI. “They’ve got Rhamondre Stevenson, they are at least intrigued by Dalvin Cook.”"
With DeAndre Hopkins still out there and weighing his options, there is still a possibility the New England Patriots can put together a lethal offense…at least on paper.
The money is there to add both Hopkins and the four-time Pro Bowl running back, but the question at 1 Patriots Place is always whether Bill Belichick would go after the game changers or invest his time and money in cheaper options.
While most Patriots fans will roll their eyes and expect the latter, there is always that surprising move Belichick does pull off. Does he have two of those moves up his sleeves in Hopkins and Cook? The longer both are on the market, the more likely that could happen.