Patriots: Here’s why insider thinks Jimmy Garoppolo trade could ‘still be in play’
By Jerry Trotta
Even following their free agent splurge, the New England Patriots have remained a hot topic of conversation around the NFL landscape.
Most of that discourse revolved around their reported interest in trading up in the draft to select one of the top quarterback prospects.
However, it all started when the San Francisco 49ers moved up nine spots to the No. 3 overall pick, to presumably draft their QB of the future, in a blockbuster trade with the Miami Dolphins.
This deal, as expected, brought up questions about Jimmy Garoppolo’s tenure in San Francisco.
It seems like a matter of when, not if, the 49ers cut bait with Garoppolo. Whether he’s traded or released remains to be seen, but that didn’t stop the Patriots from being pegged as a potential destination for their former second-round pick immediately following the 49ers-Dolphins deal.
That buzz has quieted down in recent weeks, but Doug Kyed of NESN brought it back to life in an insightful Twitter thread. Essentially, the Patriots reporter noted that a Garoppolo trade would still be “in play” for New England if they’re unable to draft one of the top five quarterback prospects.
Could the Patriots still end up trading for Jimmy Garoppolo?
Unless the 49ers are completely blown away by whomever they draft No. 3 overall and feel as though he’s ready to take over the starting job, they’ll likely keep Garoppolo through the start of next season and shop him at the trade deadline.
Who knows? Maybe they keep Garoppolo for the entirety of 2021 to mentor their young quarterback and make him available for a trade next offseason. At that point, the seven-year pro will be entering the final year of his contract and account for just $1.4 million in dead cap.
The question the Patriots have to ask themselves, assuming they’re interested in a reunion, is whether they should wait for San Francisco to back itself into a corner or get a trade over with early so as to avoid risking another team swooping in to acquire him.
Whatever the case, the Patriots’ decision of whether to pursue Garoppolo will be depend on how they approach next week’s draft. If they trade up for one of Justin Fields, Mac Jones or Trey Lance, well, that’ll be the last you hear of the Garoppolo buzz.
Even if they pass on a quarterback in Round 1 and draft a second-tier prospect in the middle rounds, they could target Garoppolo as a potential stopgap option next season while whomever they draft develops under the 29-year-old’s wing.
Bottom line? We should have a clearer picture on the Garoppolo rumors by the end of next week, which should be music to Patriots fans’ ears given how prominent they’ve been this offseason despite zero confirmation on whether New England is actually interested in him.