The Jimmy Garoppolo offseason saga begins and ends with the Patriots, who have to make a decision in their will they-or-won’t they trade scenario with Tom Brady’s backup.
Once the Patriots make that particular decision, the next step is figuring out if the team will get an offer it simply can’t refuse. ESPN’s Adam Schefter illuminates the internal debate New England looks to be having this offseason, with one in-house source saying he’d be “floored” if the Patriots traded Garoppolo.
And while the Patriots don’t seem to be in a rush to deal Garoppolo (whose contract is up after this season), even though Brady doesn’t appear to be showing signs of slowing down at age 39, it might all come down to a team making an offer that blows the team’s socks off. If that happens, all bets are off.
And that is just the tip of the iceberg in the Jimmy Garoppolo bits …
- As for the cost itself, Rob Lowder of Niners Wire believes there is a template that can be followed for a Garoppolo trade in a deal the 49ers made with the Kansas City Chiefs in 2012. San Francisco had recently relegated former first-round pick and long-time starting quarterback Alex Smith to backup duties when Colin Kaepernick (who will be a free agent this offseason) stormed onto the scene. That offseason, the 49ers dealt Smith to the Chiefs for a second-round pick in 2013 and a conditional pick (which turned out to be a second-round selection) in 2014. The difference, of course, is Smith was a fully-developed, known quantity at the time the deal went down, while Garoppolo has six quarters of regular season experience under his belt. However, because of the market and perceived upside, the winner of the Garoppolo derby might have to pay a higher price to land him than what the Chiefs did to acquire a more polished product.
- Trading Garoppolo wouldn’t just have an impact on future of the team he is dealt to, it could also shape New England’s long-term future – specifically that of head coach Bill Belichick. Over at FOX Sports, Colin Cowherd believes Garoppolo could bring back the kind of major haul in a trade that would help the Patriots get the most out of the Brady-Belichick era in the short term. Further, a Garoppolo decision could give an inkling to Belichick’s coaching future, noting that he is 55-64 when coaching quarterbacks other than Brady. Cowherd theorizes that dealing Garoppolo would tie Belichick to Brady for the duration of Brady’s career, where both could possibly walk away from the game at the same time.
- Will whoever acquires Garoppolo be receiving the next Aaron Rodgers or Brett Favre? That seems like a stretch, but Patriots receiver Julian Edelman recently showered the New England backup with praise. While speaking on the NFL Network’s NFL Total Access program, Edelman invoked the names of two all-time greats when talking about Garoppolo. “He went out and played in the regular season and he played very well. He’s got that kind of gunslinger confidence. That Brett Favre, Aaron Rodgers kind of confidence. He practices hard, he prepares hard. He’s a good kid. He’s young. I think he’s a good player.”
- Practice, preparation, and skill are the most important attributes to have for a young quarterback, but confidence shouldn’t be overlooked. However, it’s easy to have confidence when you have the kind numbers that Favre and Rodgers have to back it up. It’s another thing to have confidence as a backup for the game’s best quarterback, while playing for the league’s best head coach.
- While still property of the Patriots, Garoppolo is at the forefront of any Bears discussion, especially Brad Biggs’ Q&A mailbag. Among the most important angles is a comparison to Brock Osweiler, who had more experience than Garoppolo when he hit free agency – but flamed out in his first year with the Texans. Biggs explains that Garoppolo was held with high regard even before this year (he was a second round pick, by the way), and has cleaner throwing mechanics than Osweiler. And yet, Garoppolo comes with no guarantees and significant risk, especially when considering he will play for a less talented team than the Patriots no matter where he is dealt.
- On the other hand, because of the projected high cost of doing business with the Patriots in a deal to acquire Garoppolo, Hector Longo of the North Andover (Ma.) Eagle-Tribune writes that Garoppolo is UNTRADEABLE. Because quarterback play is so essential in today’s game, the Patriots should be in it for the long haul with both Brady and Garoppolo. That kind of move would tie up an estimated $30 million in salary cap room, meaning New England would need to be extra thrifty in free agency and in the draft if it wants to keep both quarterbacks on the roster for any period of time beyond 2017, while simultaneously sustaining a Super Bowl level of excellence.