Since returning to the New England Patriots last offseason after an unsuccessful stint as head coach of the Detroit Lions, Matt Patricia has been a jack of all trades. Officially listed as a senior football advisor, the 47-year-old is seemingly moving back and forth between front office and coaching staff on a regular basis.
There have been reports that he will be more involved with New England’s offense moving forward — the unit lost long-time coordinator Josh McDaniels earlier this offseason — but it appears he will still serve in other capacities as well. The trade that brought former Miami Dolphins wide receiver DeVante Parker to the Patriots earlier this month is the latest example of that.
As pointed out by New England director of player personnel Matt Groh on Friday, Patricia was instrumental in setting up the move.
“It got kick-started on their end with them adding a different player and then where they were at with their wide receiver room,” Groh said. And then having the opportunity to add a great player to our roster.
“They weren’t just going to be able to keep everybody, and when a player became available, I would say Matt Patricia did a great job of being on that early and kind of getting that information to us as quickly as he could. We were in on that early, and it really came together well for us. We’re really excited about having DeVante here.”
A former first-round draft pick, Parker spent the first seven years of his career in Miami. While he was a productive player — catching 342 passes for 4,782 yards and 24 touchdowns in 94 career games — he also never quite established himself as a consistent difference-maker at the wide receiver position, in large part due to injuries.
As a result, the Dolphins began rebuilding their wide receiver room. They added Jaylen Waddle in the first round of last year’s draft, and also acquired Tyreek Hill and Cedrick Wilson Jr. this offseason.
The odd man out, Parker was put on the trade block. Led by Matt Patricia, the Patriots apparently jumped on him quickly.
The 29-year-old wideout projects to play a starter-level role in New England, giving quarterback Mac Jones a legitimate X-receiver who can stretch the field vertically. His former team, meanwhile, will feature one of the better wide receiver groups in the NFL and pose a serious challenge to defenses all over the league.
The Patriots know they have to be ready for Hill and Waddle in particular. Groh said as much on Friday.
“We’ve got to play them twice. Those are two very, very meaningful games,” he said. “We’ve got to have a way to be able to combat those two players, along with a lot of the other great players that they have and have been able to add.
“But there’s multiple ways to doing that — there’s personnel, there’s scheme. We’re very cognizant of what they’ve got down there, and we’re going to try and find guys that can help us out in that regard. There’s multiple ways to try to find different avenues to slow those guys down. But it’ll be tough, they certainly added a lot of speed there.”