With less than a month remaining until the 2022 NFL Draft, and two months before the start of OTAs. It’s time for the Philadelphia Eagles to make a move.
If there’s one division in football that’s up for grabs every year it’s the NFC East. In fact, the division’s seen a different champion in each of the last three seasons and remains the only division in the NFL in which every franchise has won at least one Super Bowl.
Taking this into account, there’s a very good chance that the Philadelphia Eagles could (once again) regain control of the NFC East in 2022. Although, for this to happen, they would need to add some finishing touches to the roster before the start of the regular season.
While the Eagles still need to shore up a number of positions on defense, most notably linebacker, cornerback, and safety. These also happen to be three of the deepest units in the upcoming 2022 NFL Draft, in which the Eagles carry the fifth-most amount of picks (10), and three in the first round alone.
So, they can easily find reliable starters in each one of these positions somewhere in the front end of the draft. That being said, there is one position on offense that still needs to be taken care of, without the team wasting one of their valuable high-end picks, and that’s wide receiver.
DeVonta Smith is clearly Philadelphia’s top pass-catcher, but past that, there isn’t much to get excited over if you’re an Eagles fan. Quez Watkins and Greg Ward have been decent, especially given that the former was a sixth-round pick, and the latter went undrafted in 2017. Although, it’s safe to say that J.J. Arcega-Whiteside and Jalen Reagor have been profoundly disappointing since coming into the league as highly-touted prospects.
So, if the Eagles want Jalen Hurts to take that next leap as a true franchise quarterback, they need to surround him with more talent at the receiver position. Especially since DeVonta Smith accounted for 43.5% of the Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver targets in 2021, and Eagles’ receivers ranked dead last in targets per game with 13.7, per Pro Football Reference.
The 2022 NFL Draft does carry an exceptionally deep wide receiver class, including a pair of Ohio State studs in Garrett Wilson and Chris Olave, as well as the physical phenom, Drake London out of USC. And while the Philadelphia Eagles could easily draft any one of these players, there’s another pass-catcher that appears to be available for trade, and would require very little to acquire.
Enter DeVante Parker.
How would the trade go down?
At 29-years-old, not only would DeVante Parker be an established veteran presence in a relatively young receiver room. But he also has a proven track record of success and is just two years out from a season in which he had over 1,200 receiving yards and 9 touchdowns on just 72 receptions, averaging nearly 17 yards per catch (16.7). All of which with Ryan Fitzpatrick as his quarterback, nonetheless.
DeVante Parker is also the odd man out in Miami after the signing of Tyreek Hill and Cedric Wilson, along with the emergence of second-year wideout, Jaylen Waddle. Meaning that he would likely become the fourth option in ‘South Beach’ under new head coach, Mike McDaniel.
The Eagles have also already made it pretty clear that they’re in the market for another receiver. As they swung (and missed) earlier this offseason on both Allen Robinson and Christian Kirk.
The obvious knock-on DeVante Parker is that he’s dealt with his fair share of injuries and inconsistency throughout his NFL career. But there’s no question that he would slot in perfectly alongside DeVonta Smith and one of either Quez Watkins or Zach Pascal as more of a traditional ‘X’ receiver for Philly. Creating far less pressure for Parker to be the team’s leading pass-catcher night in and night out.
Parker also wouldn’t cost the Eagles much financially either, since he’s already signed through 2023 at a very affordable $5.65 million base salary, and has zero guaranteed money in the final year of his contract. So, cutting him after the season ends would provide Philadelphia with $6.3 million in salary cap relief, with a minor dead-money cap hit of $2.7 million.
Taking into consideration how little money Parker is owed, and what the current market looks like for wide receivers. DeVante Parker probably wouldn’t require anything more than a 4th or 5th round pick to reel in, of which the Philadelphia Eagles have plenty.
Acquiring DeVante Parker for a mid-late round selection would also allow the Philadelphia Eagles to not draft a receiver in the first round as they’ve done (many times) in the past. Which hasn’t exactly panned out for them in recent years…
It’s also worth noting that Robert Woods was recently traded to the Tennessee Titans for a sixth-round pick. And even though Woods is coming off a torn ACL and carries a bigger contract than DeVante Parker, he’s still been largely more productive than Parker when healthy. So, there’s no reason to believe that the Philadelphia Eagles can’t get DeVante Parker for in and around the same price.