Here’s the only reason anybody can consider the Patriots’ decision to trade QB Jimmy Garoppolo back in 2017 a mistake.
The Patriots’ matchup with the 49ers on Sunday garnered buzz for a handful of reasons, chief among them being the long-awaited meeting with quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo, who returned to Gillette Stadium for the first time since he was famously dealt to the San Francisco back in 2017.
Unfortunately for fans in New England, the game did not go as planned as the Patriots got their doors blown off by the reigning NFC champs. When you take into account how much hype the media triggered leading up to the showdown, the performance was a monumental letdown.
Most of that hoopla of course, reignited debates about whether Bill Belichick trading Garoppolo and keeping the faith in an aging Tom Brady was the right move. Given that the Patriots won a championship and appeared in another Super Bowl in two of Brady’s final three seasons, it’s not surprising that the majority of fans and pundits believe trading the former second-round pick was the correct call.
However, if anybody wanted to debate the other side of the argument, there’s actually a case to be made for them. As Ryan Hannable of WEEI pointed out on Twitter, the Patriots really should have done a better job at keeping Brady happy after the trade.
Declaring that the Patriots have “one of the worst QB situations in the league” is probably a stretch because we have faith that Cam Newton, who might still be affected by COVID-19, will turn it around. However, there’s no denying that Belichick didn’t go to great lengths to ensure that Brady was satisfied over the final three years of his contract.
Not only did the legendary coach refuse to upgrade the team’s pedestrian talent at skill positions, but it’s been widely reported that he and the organization — excluding owner Robert Kraft — didn’t appreciate what Brady brought to the table nearly as much as they should have. On top of that, Belichick forbade Alex Guerrero, the three-time MVP’s fitness coach and TB12 business partner, from being on the sidelines seemingly out of nowhere in the middle of the 2017 season.
The friction between Belichick and Brady only intensified after that, so it really shouldn’t come as a surprise that the 43-year-old quarterback sold his Massachusetts home in August and opted to test free agency after the Patriots supposedly couldn’t meet his contract demands.
Would the Patriots have a better record with Brady (or Jimmy G) than Newton right now? Perhaps, but they wouldn’t be anywhere close to championship contenders. Garoppolo is struggling to produce in one of the most dynamic offenses in the NFL and we all saw what Brady looked like in this offense last season.
However, we also see what Brady is currently doing in Tampa Bay while equipped with elite playmakers, so the Patriots and Belichick are both at fault for not trading for or signing a top-tier wide receiver/tight end, in addition to failing to appreciate his greatness while he was still around.
That’s really the only reason anybody can view the Garoppolo trade as a “mistake.”