Jimmy Garoppolo’s short stint as starting quarterback for the New England Patriots was enough to earn him shine as the most covered quarterback prospect in the NFL.
Garoppolo played just 1.5 games during Tom Brady’s Deflategate suspension before hurting his shoulder and giving the keys to Jacoby Brissett. However, those 1.5 games seemed to prove to NFL teams that he can be an effective starter.
According to CBS’s Jason La Canfora, Garoppolo is viewed as “the best option of all potential free-agent or trade targets” around the league.
La Canfora reports that the Chicago Bears will make a “strong concerted effort” to try to trade for Garoppolo, while the Cleveland Browns, New York Jets, and San Francisco 49ers all have interest, too. Former Patriots assistant Mike Lombardi (formerly of Fox Sports, now of The Ringer) also said in December that the Browns will try “hard” to trade for Garoppolo.
The market for quarterbacks also helps Garopplo and the Patriots’ case. Tony Romo is another high-profile name with interest around the league, according to La Canfora, but he’s 36 years old with a troubling injury history. Other quarterbacks on the trade and free-agent market include Kirk Cousins (likely to be re-signed by the Redskins), Ryan Fitzpatrick, Jay Cutler (who La Canfora reports the Bears will move on from), and potentially Colin Kaepernick. It’s not the most intriguing market.
This, of course, works out well for the Patriots. La Canfora reports that they would rather trade Garoppolo out of the AFC as they believe he can “prosper elsewhere.” That likely rules out the Jets and potentially the Bills, who have a decision to make on Tyrod Taylor.
According to La Canfora, the Patriots may not be able to get a first-round draft pick for Garoppolo, but they may be able to get two second-rounders for him. The Patriots are notoriously willing to ship off talented players due for big pay days for future assets — they have done so with Jamie Collins and Chandler Jones in the past. With Garoppolo hitting free agency in 2018, the Patriots may choose to trade him this offseason before he’s due for a new contract.
Of course, the one potential snag may be how they view Garoppolo’s future vs. Tom Brady’s future. Brady, at 40 years old, has showed no signs of slowing down and has said he’d like to play well into his 40s. However, declines can happen quickly and unexpectedly, and if the Patriots think Brady’s end may be nearer than expected, they may want to hold onto Garoppolo as opposed to having to find a replacement via free agency or the draft.
It’s possible the Patriots could decide to hold onto Garoppolo, but either way, it sounds like there will be no shortage in interest in him.
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