We spent all spring expecting a Jimmy Garoppolo trade, but nobody expected it in late October. Leave it to Bill Belichick to do something completely predictable, but at an unpredictable time. This act has left many football fans asking why and has lead to many interesting takes on the trade. Here are some examples.
Only time will tell if there is any merit to the idea that Garoppolo is not good enough to be an elite NFL quarterback. Given the fact that Bill Belichick met one-on-one with him on a weekly basis, I’d say The Hoodie has a higher opinion of him than that. Garoppolo certainly showed flashes of greatness when he got his chance in 2016, but his injury robbed us of the valuable opportunity to evaluate him further. Grade: C-
The Patriots have certainly not performed as a team the way we expected them to coming into the season. They have suffered many injuries, particularly to their receivers. Their defense has been amongst the worst in the league, and their offensive line has not looked much better. Add it all together and it is not a good situation for any quarterback, particularly one filling in for the GOAT. For all these reasons this take makes sense, but do you really think Bill Belichick would throw in the towel on his season because of one injury? The other problem with this take is that it looks at Garoppolo as the backup quarterback instead of the heir apparent. Grade: D
This is a popular take in New England. Jimmy Garoppolo wants to be a starter and needs to gain starting experience, but Tom Brady is not ready to retire. So the Patriots sent Garoppolo to San Francisco to gain experience. Garoppolo did not sign a new deal with the 49ers. They may hang on to him using the franchise tag, but he could have the opportunity to become a free agent in next few years, and hopefully that lines up with Brady’s retirement. This idea has far too many moving parts and far too much lack of Patriot control to be true. Grade: F
Where to start… First off, I don’t know if anyone is vindictive enough to hold a grudge after moving on and winning five Super Bowls. Second, Belichick never worked for this Browns franchise. He was the head coach of the Browns franchise that is now known as the Baltimore Ravens. And finally, just one year ago Belichick traded Jamie Collins to Cleveland. Grade: F (“Everyone in this room is now dumber from having listened to it. I award you know points and may God have mercy on your soul” – Billy Madison 1995)
Considering that the AJ McCarron was almost traded for a second and a third round pick compared to the second that the Patriots received for Jimmy Garoppolo, this claim has some merit. Even though the 49ers pick will likely be at the very top of the second round (not far from where the Patriots generally pick in the first round) it seems pretty light. It also seems like far too simple of a trade. If the Patriots think so highly of Garoppolo, you would think there would be a conditional 2019 pick in there that would increase in value if Garoppolo met certain performance milestones. The Patriots could have done better on this one. Grade: A-
Franchising Garoppolo and trading him in the off-season could have been an option, but it would have made things more difficult. Garoppolo would now come with a much larger price tag that the Patriots would be stuck with if they could not find a trade partner. This puts them at a competitive disadvantage and would likely make impact Garoppolo’s trade value. Grade: B
The idea here is that Belichick, following his pattern of moving on from guys a year before their decline, wanted to let Brady go because Garoppolo was the future, but Robert Kraft would not let him. Although this idea makes some sense, the Krafts stay out of football decisions. If Belichick prioritized keeping Garoppolo over keeping Brady, Garoppolo would still be in Foxborough. Grade: C
According to San Francisco 49ers GM John Lynch, the 49ers did not make any offers for Garoppolo this off-season because they were not allowed to. Apparently the Patriots, unlike the rest of us, were not talking about a Jimmy Garoppolo trade this off-season. This means one of two things, either they weren’t sure about Brady’s future or they thought they could work out a deal to keep Garoppolo and eventually make him the starter. Evidently they were not able to reach such a deal, and here we are. While franchising Garoppolo could have been an option, it would have resulted in the Garoppolo making more than Brady (unless his contract was renegotiated) and a lot of money being tied up in two players of which only one can be the field. They may have other ideas for their franchise player. Malcolm Butler’s contract situation resulted in the Patriots signing Stephon Gilmore and nearly trading Butler. With Gilmore’s uninspired play this season the Patriots may think they need to use the franchise tag to ensure they have the top corner their defense needs. Grade: B+
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