Dolphins receiver DeVante Parker says more in a day on social media than he does most weeks to reporters.
The famously shy Parker lets loose on Twitter. He feeds on disrespect and doubt. Just check out his bio: “Believe When Nobody Else Will.”
Parker was feisty late Wednesday, clapping back at those who wonder if he will ever live up to his first-round billing.
“The less you care about what people think about you, the more successful you’ll be,” Parker wrote.
The message was received by teammates, past and present. Teddy Bridgewater, the Jets quarterback who threw passes to Parker at Louisville, and Isaac Asiata, the Dolphins’ second-year guard, both responded with support.
As for the Dolphins? They just hope that the swagger they see in practice will finally translate into sustained success on Sundays.
Parker, drafted 14th overall in 2015, is entering the most important season of his career. If he is ever going to make it as a Miami Dolphin, it has to be now.
Technically, he is entering the final season of his rookie deal, but the Dolphins would own his rights through 2019 if they pick up his fifth-year option. Mike Tannenbaum was cagey when pressed on this matter at the NFL annual meeting in Orlando earlier this week (the Dolphins have until May to decide), but there’s little reason to believe they will not exercise that option.
Parker would be under contract for roughly $9 million, but it would be guaranteed only in the case of injury.
And even given Parker’s shaky health history (he’s missed games because of foot, hamstring and ankle injuries), this would be a low-risk proposition. If he passes a physical at the start of the 2019 league year, the Dolphins could cut him without penalty.
So while Parker’s career stats (139 catches, 1,908 yards, eight touchdowns) are relatively pedestrian, don’t be surprised if the Dolphins bet on the come, to use a gambling phrase, and pick up that fifth-year option. They believe he can be special — when he feels right.
“I feel like we know what he can do in our building,” Dolphins coach Adam Gase said. “I don’t think there’s any question about what anybody feels of what he can do. I don’t even think it’s a potential thing. I think it’s a health thing. It’s just about how are we going to keep him healthy? I think that’s when we get our best DeVante Parker.
“I think we’re trying to do as much as we can to figure out a way to make sure when we hit spring, we start from there and we just keep building on it,” Gase added. “It’s just unpredictable. We need a little bit of luck. We need him to do the right things and he has been. He’s been trying to do everything the right way. We’ve just kind of got to see … let the chips fall where they may.”