As we’ve been breathlessly following all things Jimmy Garoppolo thanks to reports that strongly tie the Bears to the New England back-up, the big question underlying all of the rumors – a question no one can yet answer – is whether the Patriots will even trade Garoppolo at all.
The latest report suggests probably not.
— Ed Werder (@EdwerderRFA) February 16, 2017
You know the story: although Garoppolo’s value is extremely high in a quarterback-needy market, and is under contract for just one more year, he is a stellar insurance policy for a team with repeat Super Bowl aspirations, and a starting quarterback who will soon be 40. Moreover, in a situation where Garoppolo did become necessary in 2017 for the Patriots – in the event of a serious injury to Tom Brady, for example – the chance that they’d want to keep him in 2018 and beyond would only rise exponentially.
That is all to say, the Patriots don’t have to trade Garoppolo, and there would be justifications in them not doing so. But it’s worth reiterating that, if they do not, they will within a year be confronted by an extremely difficult choice: lose Garoppolo for nothing, extend him for starting-caliber money while also paying Brady at the top of the market, or separate from Brady and move on to Garoppolo.
Against that backdrop, I can’t help but wonder how much the rumoring about the Patriots’ desire to keep Garoppolo is really about a desire to make sure they get more for him than other back-up quarterbacks in this situation have generated in trade in recent years (typically multiple picks, but after the first round). Everything, after all, is a negotiation.
From where I sit, it makes far more sense to cash in on Garoppolo’s value to add pieces around Brady and extend the current run, rather than risk an ugly situation in a year (with no upside at that point either).
But then again, maybe I’m just hoping Garoppolo is made widely available in order to give the Bears another quarterback option this offseason – one they reportedly love.