DeVante Parker clearly got to someone’s “feels.”
The lack of live sporting events and the ability to train per usual standards has put a lot more time on the plate of both collegiate and professional sports and typically that leads to storylines non-related to what takes places on the field. That’s the case for former Louisville football star and now Miami Dolphins receiver, DeVante Parker, who found himself in a randomly sensitive social media bout.
After a disappointing first few seasons in the NFL where he dealt with injuries, Parker put together a career-best season in 2019, where he finished with high’s in targets, receptions, yards, and touchdowns and was rewarded with two year, $40 million extension to remain with the rebuilding Dolphins.
His season put him in the upper echelon of receivers in the NFL, finishing fifth in total yards and tied for fourth in touchdowns, alongside arguably the NFL’s top receiver, Michael Thomas. That’s what made yesterday’s Instagram back-and-forth even more comical.
Former Louisville football star receiver gets into IG battle
Replying to a post from the NFL on Fox’s official account where the question was asked “Which is tougher? A. Make a catch while guarded by Stephon Gilmore or B. break up a pass while guarding Michael Thomas, Parker voted on which he believed to be more difficult.
You might be able to guess what Parker replied, considering being a top receiver in the AFC and going head-to-head with New England Patriot and arguably the NFL’s best shut down corner twice a year.
Taking it as a slight for some odd reasons, Michael Thomas’ reply back to Parker started a war. He wrote: “For you, yes. Go run some numbers up. Then you can talk. I lapped you and you been in the league longer than me, first-rounder.”
The two would continue going back and forth with Parker pointing out what everyone knows, Thomas is easily the most targeted receiver in the NFL playing with an elite quarterback in Drew Brees. Thomas’ response was simple and carried a lot of power, “you can’t even get a seat at the table.”
Parker didn’t back down, replying “Got some hard feelings there brotha??? Let me get targeted 300 times a game.”
Thomas didn’t stop replying “In other words, you weak. They don’t even put your name in the same sentence as me. Remember that.”
While Thomas wasn’t wrong when he said Parker can’t “get a seat at the table” considering he’s been in the NFL for five years and until 2019 had yet to reach the 1,000-yard mark, he’s also not right. Parker was easily one of the best receivers in the NFL last season, doing so with the combination of Ryan Fitzpatrick and Josh Rosen at quarterback while playing for one of the worst teams in the NFL.
There were several factors at play during Parker’s few seasons in the NFL that limited his production and ability to live up to his draft position, inconsistency and injury being the biggest, but calling him a “one year fluke.” We likely saw just the tip of the iceberg of what Parker can do when healthy, especially considering the fact that as soon as this season he’ll be playing with one of the most elite college quarterbacks of the last decade in Tua Tagovailoa.
Parker did in one season what Thomas has been doing since he entered the league as a second-rounder back in 2016 and what has made him arguably the NFL’s best receiver, but once again, looking at things in a vacuum won’t tell the full story.
Thomas has had the good fortune of playing for one of the best quarterbacks in NFL history in Brees while being coached by an offensive-minded, Super Bowl-winning head coach in Sean Payton. His success has come by no accident, but my guess is DeVante Parker would be able to replicate similar stats in a stable, offensive-minded organization.
The number of targets Thomas receives is easily the biggest reason why his production is what it has been the last few seasons. The former Ohio State star has averaged nearly 151 targets per season over his career while Parker sits at just 82, a number that would’ve been much lower if it wasn’t for his emergence last season.
Parker also has quite a pedestal to stand on when arguing the original question. Last season against the Patriots, Parker was completely shut down in their first meeting only to bounce back with eight receptions and 137 yards in the team’s week 17 victory.
In fact, Parker’s performance was so dominant that according to Next Gen Stats it was the most yard and receptions Gilmore had given up since joining the Patriots.
It doesn’t take a genius to realize that Thomas is the far superior wide receiver, but the Parker doesn’t deserve “a spot at the table” comment over a vote that catching a pass on all-pro cornerback is harder than stopping Thomas catch a pass is an odd thing to start a beef over.
Let Parker have a few seasons with a quarterback who is more than just “competent” and see if the 1,202 yards he produced are a fluke. My guess, they probably wouldn’t be.