When it became clear that his time with the Miami Dolphins was coming to an end after seven seasons, DeVante Parker knew where he wanted to go.
After the team had acquired Tyreek Hill via trade and Cedrick Wilson Jr. in free agency, Parker was left as the odd man out. Several teams were vying for his services, but the most aggressive among them, according to Dolphins general manager Chris Grier, were the New England Patriots — the team right at the top of Parker’s wish list.
“My agent was telling me what the situation was, and the options I had for a team to go to,” he told reporters during his introductory conference call on Thursday. “First one my list were the Patriots. I’m just excited that he was able to get everything done.”
A first-round draft pick by the Dolphins in 2015, Parker and the Patriots have crossed paths multiple times in the past. In total, he appeared in 12 games against the Dolphins’ division rivals and caught a combined 42 passes for 597 yards and a touchdown.
Along the way, he also was able to get an up-close look at the organization and the culture surrounding it. All of that was apparently an appealing outlook for the 29-year-old.
“The Patriots have a great organization,” Parker said. “And the fans — the fans are just outstanding. And I know from experience coming in here how the fans were. It’s just something that I wanted to be a part of. ... They’re die-hard fans. They’re Patriots fans for their whole lifetime, season tickets and everything. It’s something I’m looking forward to.”
Parker’s prior experience with the team goes beyond a handful of annual trips to Gillette Stadium, however. The most productive season of his career, after all, happened in a system installed by Chad O’Shea. A former Patriots assistant coach, O’Shea arrived in Miami in 2019 and brought a New England-style offense with him.
Parker ended that year with 72 catches for 1,202 yards and nine touchdowns — setting new career marks in all three categories. O’Shea was let go after one season, but his number one wideout that year is now back in a similar offense.
It seems he is looking forward to the experience.
“The offense, it helps everyone out a lot,” he said about the Patriots’ system. “The way it moves you around, and things like that, it’s something that I’m looking forward to.”
Parker is not wasting any time, it seems. After already working out with some of his new teammates, including quarterback Mac Jones, he was present for the start of the voluntary offseason workout program as well.