With reports coming out that the New England Patriots are not looking to trade Jimmy Garoppolo, we explore why that is the best idea for New England…for now.
Sure, New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady is turning 40 and playing the best football of his career. Also, hee just finished mounting the best comeback in Super Bowl history. Plus, he’s getting ready for his18th NFL season. So why make a move to trade Jimmy Garoppolo?
There’s one reason and one reason only: maximize his value over the offseason as teams realize the quarterbacks in the draft aren’t the answer. There is also the group of teams going through this years weak free agent quarterback group and finding no answers.
Colin Kaepernick, and Jay Cutler are among the few. Sure, this sounds good if you just opened up your computer in 2011, but it’s 2017. You can’t pay for past accomplishments. Teams are starting to realize this, and trading for high potential talent is going to excite teams.
The Browns, 49ers, Jets, and Texans are all looking for quarterbacks. You can go ahead and pencil Romo to the Texans now (maybe?) if you’d like. Also, Kapernick to the Jets seems like a great fit (not like the Patriots are going to trade Garoppolo to them anyways).
So we get left with the Browns and 49ers.
They are two quarterback needy teams with draft picks that the whole league desires, but they may need to act soon because of a report coming out from ESPN’s Adam Schefter.
The Schefter Effect
Okay, it’s a term I just made up.
However, A report came out from Adam Schefter of ESPN that, according to Schefter, the Patriots aren’t willing to trade Jimmy Garoppolo. Schefter tweeted:
"In a move that will have a ripple effect on all QB-needy teams, Patriots are not expected to trade QB Jimmy Garoppolo, per league sources."
I call baloney.
Like I said, putting this report out just shows teams that they need to increase their offer to acquire Garoppolo. A team might’ve been offering some mid round picks before, but now they know that the Patriots are really in no rush to trade him in the first place, which may increase their offer.
The Patriots are playing it smart by not seeming desperate for the draft picks, and by trading picks away and reaching juggernaut status, they’ve shown that they are able to hold on to him at no extra cost.
They do, however, have a hole in draft selections that is rarely seen in the Belichick era. This leads many people to believe, including me, that the Patriots are indeed ready to trade Jimmy Garoppolo.
Now, people other than me do believe that Garoppolo will be traded, and there’s more than one reason.
The Lackluster 2017 Quarterback Class
While watching some tape on college quarterbacks, I’ve seen nothing that blows me away. No quarterback in this draft class is going to be the one you build your franchise around. Last years class was the deepest we’ve seen since 2014, the class Jimmy Garoppolo was in.
The quarterbacks to choose from this year are headlined by Deshaun Watson and Mitchell Trubisky. Which in reality the only name you can recognize is Deshaun Watson.
His ability to lead a team back from a deficit is great, one that should impress teams. However, teams should be worried about his decision-making. Watching Clemson, I saw many reasons why they were down in the first place, and it was because of Watson. Many times throughout the season Watson made questionable throws that often led to interceptions, or blown plays.
Next, we have Mitchell Trubisky. 2016 was his first season as a starter, so we only have 13 games of real tape on him. It should worry some NFL teams that the guy has only played 3/4 of an NFL season as a starter.
According to a scouting report by NFL.com’s Lance Zierlein, the bottom line on his draft profile is:
"Trubisky is a high-end quarterback prospect who possesses NFL size, a big arm and the ability to throw with accuracy from the pocket or on the move."
Lucky for the Patriots, they didn’t draft a quarterback that had good “NFL size”. NFL size is overrated today. Russell Wilson and Tom Brady didn’t have “NFL size” and they succeeded at the highest level in the sport, winning 3 out of the last 5 Super Bowl’s (9 total appearances–mostly Brady’s).
Also, there is no Andrew Luck, Jameis Winston, or Cam Newton in this draft which is good because no team is locked on a prospect.
The obvious choice: The Browns. They have draft picks, and lots of them.
I’m not the first person to pin point the Browns to Jimmy Garoppolo, and I sure won’t be the last.
Cleveland traded for Brock Osweiler, and in the meantime acquired their 2nd round pick. A huge pick up for both teams, but all signs point towards Cleveland preparing a monster offer for Garoppolo.
If I were New England this is the least I’m taking for Garoppolo:
- 2017 12th overall pick (1)
- 2017 33rd overall pick (2)
- 2018 2nd round pick (2)
- 2018 3rd round pick (3)
- 2019 1st round pick (1)
That is not the value of Jimmy Garoppolo, but the value of a potential starting quarterback in the NFL, and most teams would pay that cost to acquire one. The Vikings sent their first round pick this year to the Eagles for Sam Bradford, a mid level quarterback with a huge cap hit, and the Rams traded the moon to acquire the 1st overall pick last year.
So even though Garoppolo has only played 2 games as a starter, it was enough to boost his value in a stricken quarterback market.
More from Musket Fire
- What trading Mac Jones during the draft can do for the Patriots
- Best and worst draft picks during the Bill Belichick era
- Early round Patriots draft picks you’ll hate now, love later
- Musket Fire Roundup: Our own final predictions for round 1
- Breaking down the Patriots’ options in the 2023 NFL Draft
Yes, the trade for Jimmy Garoppolo is not immediate, but it may happen at some point closer to the draft. We can look at many trades in the past 5 years that have shown how desperate teams get for a quarterback, and it opens up the value for Garoppolo:
2012: Rams 2nd overall (RG3) to Redskins for; Redskins 2012 first round pick (6th), 2012 2nd round pick (39th), 2013 first round pick (22nd), and 2014 first round pick (2nd). (via Ryan Wilson, CBS Sports)
2016: Titans 1st overall pick (Jared Goff), 4th round pick, and 6th round pick for; Rams 2016 1st round pick (15th), two 2016 2nd round picks (43rd and 45th), 2016 3rd round pick (76th), 2017 1st round pick (5th), and 2017 3rd round pick. (via Paul Kuharksy, ESPN)
2016: Browns 2nd overall pick (Carson Wentz) and 2017 4th round pick for; Eagles 2016 1st round pick (8th), 2016 3rd round pick (77th), 2016 4th round pick (100th), 2017 first round pick (5th), and 2018 2nd round pick. (via Phil Sheridan, ESPN)
2016: Eagles Sam Bradford for; Vikings 2017 1st round pick (14th) and 2018 conditional 4th round pick. (via Ben Goessling, ESPN)
So, as you can see the value of these quarterbacks were high even though most of them never even played a down in the NFL. Also, 3 out of 4 of them happened in 2016, which is pretty recent. Even though Jimmy Garoppolo has played only 2 games, but Sam Bradford, the only other one with NFL experience prior to the trade, had an injury history and was labeled as a bust heading into the latter parts of his career.
One thing you can see from these trades is they all start at a minimum of a first round pick. New England knows this, which is why they are playing coy with the NFL about Garoppolo.
Bring it on Home
So, after that long lecture on the Schefter Effect, 2017 QB class, and earlier trades; are you convinced?
The Patriots seem glued at the hip to Tom Brady, and with his reluctance to retire it seems like the Patriots won’t be keeping a future franchise QB under their wing much longer. It also seems unlikely that they let him go for nothing.
It makes sense to agree to a trade now seeing as it is a weak QB class (look above for more detail) and next years class may be one of the best in 5 years. With the potential addition of Sam Darnold (USC) and Lamar Jackson (Louisville) it seems like the Patriots best chance to maximize is in 2017.
That means they could eventually trade to Cleveland, and the reigning Super Bowl Champions just keep getting stronger.