New England Patriots Backup Quarterback, Jimmy Garoppolo, is the most intriguing story in the NFL off season. Drafted to the man to takeover from Tom Brady in New England is likely to be out the door before his 40 year old mentor. Brady has so far defied father time in his career and is playing better as a 40 year old than he was as a 30 year old. A five time Super Bowl Champion who doesn’t look like slowing down. Which presents a rare problem to 7x Super Bowl Champion Coach Bill Belichick. Jimmy G has looked good when he has seen the field but there is not a lot of playing time for the young QB. He has learned from the Greatest Quarterback and Head Coach of all time and is a step above the QBs in the draft. So what are the options?
The first option is to Trade him. This has been widely reported as the likely option but it will come at a high price for the teams that want to deal. The Patriots are seeking a first round pick with other picks involved to part ways with Jimmy. The QB needy teams are The 49ers, The Bears, The Browns, The Jets, The Texans, The Jaguars and a couple of potential wildcards that could become QB needy teams based on what happens. So let’s break down each team, why they would be interested and do they stand a chance and reveal our wildcard teams.
The Browns – The Browns should keep trying to get a QB until they find one. This team has started 24 different QBs since returning to the NFL in 1999. Head Coach Hue Jackson has a good reputation in the league for developing QBs and building teams. They are strong favourites in the NFL rumour mill to land Jimmy. They have the chips to intrigue The Patriots, with 2 first round picks (1 and 12 overall). The number 12 pick is likely the one that will be traded should they land Garoppolo. It will likely take the number 12 plus a few other picks to get him but they have the trade power to do it. Having spent the last couple of years collecting picks. 4.5/5 chance.
The 49ers – With a new offensive minded Head Coach and a known QB guru in Kyle Shanahan. He could be tempted to pursue Garoppolo should he fail at getting other targets, namely Kirk Cousins should he leave Washington. Garoppolo would provide the 49ers with some hope that they have a stable QB situation when they (likely) jettison Kaepernick and Gabbert from the team. They biggest hurdle they face is giving up the first round pick. If they were to give up their first round pick this year then they are giving New England the number 2 overall pick. They could take a key defensive piece, QB of the future or trade down a few spots to get more picks. I think it’s likely they find a QB elsewhere. 2/5.
The Texans – Despite being a play-off team they are still listed as a QB needy team. Brock Osweiler didn’t live up to his $72m contract in his first year in Houston. They have been rumoured to be interested in Tony Romo but the contract number makes it unlikely to have two highly paid QBs considering they need cap space to sign AJ Bouye (A key piece in their secondary). Garoppolo makes sense in Houston. The Texans are considered Patriots South with so many former Patriots in the coaching and playing staff. It would be a similar system to New England under Bill O’Brien but Osweiler complicates things. I would think that The Texans are likely to draft a QB and develop him. This would give Bill O’Brien more job security for having ‘a plan’ and taking the risk on another QB with minimum playing experience behind a Hall of Fame QB for two consecutive years would likely end his tenure in Houston should it fail but stranger things have happened. 1/5
The Jets – ZERO CHANCE of a trade between The Jets and The Patriots. The Jets need a QB desperately. They are trying to compete in the same division as The Patriots. No chance Garoppolo ends up here in a trade. They will look at Free Agency or the draft. Or take a chance of Bryce Petty or Christian Hackenberg (Which is what I think they should do). 0/5.
The Bears – Chicago are a team that need to start all over at QB. They will be free from Jay Cutler this off season, which should remove some of the negativity around the team, a getting rid of Matt Barkley to find a young back up will help. They need a fresh start at QB. Jimmy could be the answer but it is not a place where a QB will come in a make a difference right away. They are slowly getting better but are likely to lose a big outside threat in Alshon Jeffery. Having traded Martellus Bennett last season, losing Matt Forte and struggling offensively. They are a team that could be desperate enough to give up a first rounder (The 3rd overall pick) for a QB. They have a potential difference maker in Kevin White should be get over his injury bugs. It could be between The Bears and The Browns. 4/5.
The Jaguars – The curious case of Jacksonville. 2015, a young team that needed a year to develop and Blake Bortles looks like a top tier NFL QB. 2016, a youngish team that should take the next step forward but it all goes badly wrong, Bortles takes huge strides backwards and the team looks lost under Gus Bradley. Doug Marrone steps in and motivates the team. A highly regarded assistant in his second NFL head coaching job. Tom Coughlin has stated that Bortles isn’t guaranteed to start at QB so could they take the chance of Garoppolo. They have the weapons, Hurns and Robinson, They have a young, fast defence that should improve next year. They are an intriguing team waiting for a QB who can bring it all together. However, I don’t know if they are that interested. They could get a difference making Safety in Jamal Adams or a Running back to build around (Leonard Fournette or Dalvin Cook). They could be willing to give Bortles another shot to show that he can recapture the 2015 magic on his rookie contract while getting another top talent in the top 5 of the draft effectively ruling out a move for Garoppolo with a 1st round pick, unless they give up a player. 1/5.
Wildcard Trade Partners.
Things will now get slightly crazy when I say these two teams. The Redskins and The Vikings. I know, I know. These two won’t get a chance out of 5 of happening because there needs to be a lot of happen for them to be considered.
The Redskins – Should Kirk Cousins leave it would leave a decently talented team without a QB that is at least productive in the NFL. Teams would kill for Kirk Cousins and the 49ers are keeping their eyes on the situation. Should Cousins leave what better place to get a QB than New England. Garoppolo is solid on short to intermediate routes and timing throws with a quick release. He would be a good fit for Jay Gruden’s system and at a more team friendly price (initially). This would only happen if Cousin’s left, which doesn’t look like happening, because the cost of not having a QB versus an average QB is high. Cousins will be overpaid again but that is the cost of having a solid QB in the NFL.
The Vikings – They have a QB of the future right? Teddy Bridgewater. This is questionable. Bridgewater is a highly rated prospect but is gonna be out for another year. Two years out with an injury, with some former players thinking he may never play again. A freak injury that could cost the Vikings a QB. Sam Bradford was serviceable last season but Offensive Line play doomed the team who started 5-0. They don’t have a first round pick. They don’t know what Bridgewater will be when/if he ever returns from his gruesome injury. It could make sense to see if the Patriots would take a deal not involving a 1st round pick (Maybe a blockbuster trade involving Adrian Peterson and a mid round pick for Garoppolo) but it would be stunning for The Vikings to make the move until they know their future with Bridgewater.
UPDATE: Adrian Peterson was released after this went live. Money was the issue. Vikings will probably need all the picks they can get but can now make a splash in free agency with the money off their cap. Doubt they make a change at QB.
That is all the options and the slightly crazy options for a potential trade but there is one more option to explore.
The Patriots could keep Garoppolo on the roster. No-one knows when the decline of an elite QB is coming and it could make sense to keep Jimmy for one more year before using a Franchise/Transitional Tag next year to find a partner. It gives Jacoby Brissett another yer to develop behind Garoppolo AND Brady. It safeguards The Patriots if Brady is injured all falls off the cliff dramatically. However, Jimmy’s stock may never be higher than it is right now. The Patriots would be banking on teams not being in love with the QB prospects next year which is unlikely given teams are likely to want to draft Sam Darnold or Josh Rosen.
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