In the three seasons since Tom Brady left the Patriots, the speculation of Bill Belichick bringing in a new quarterback has run rampant. The latest within that conversation has been the idea of him signing a quarterback he once traded. Although the team drafted their presumed franchise quarterback last year in Mac Jones, his apparent regression in his second season has raised the question once again: will Belichick make a move for a quarterback this offseason?
Anything is possible when considering what Belichick might do.
Regardless of who is most to blame for Jones’ poor production this season, some in the media have suggested the team moves on from the first-round pick after just two seasons. Whether that seems fair is irrelevant since they say there is no loyalty or patience in sports. But would it be the right move when reviewing all of the issues the Patriots faced this season?
Many have felt it would be the right move and have discussed the team’s options at quarterback.
Several names have been predicted to land in New England next season, whether by trade or a new contract, a few of which were formerly with the team. Because Brady will be a free agent at the end of the current year, the long-time Patriot is an easy assumption to make his way back to his old team. But with that, there have been a number of other teams connected to the quarterback, such as the Dolphins, Raiders, and Niners, making his return to the Patriots seem less likely.
The newest name to circulate the internet has been Jimmy Garoppolo. The Patriots drafted him back in 2014, and rumors swirled that Belichick wanted to keep him and trade away Brady, which inevitably never took place. However, because Brady continued playing for another six years, Garoppolo was traded in October 2017 to San Francisco, where he became the starting quarterback just a few weeks later.
Garoppolo will be a free agent at the end of the season, and although he has a chance to return, the Niners did draft Trey Lance in the first round of the 2021 draft with the belief he would be their starting QB of the future. Trade rumors picked up involving Garoppolo throughout the preseason when it was announced that Lance would be the starter. Still, when Lance suffered a season-ending injury in week two, Garoppolo was again the quarterback for the season.
The 2022 offseason will be the first time he hits free agency in his career. With so many quarterback-needy teams available to sign with, it seems unlikely we would see a Patriots and Jimmy G reunion. However, Jason McIntyre predicted it would, in fact, happen during his appearance on The Herd on Thursday.
"“I will go with a major curveball, and I will say Jimmy Garoppolo lands with the New England Patriots. Colin, if you remember, Belichick drafted Garoppolo in 2014. You’ve been saying for weeks now that (Patriots owner Robert) Kraft is going to say to Bill, ‘Hey, what’s going on, Bill? Are you going to make some staff changes?’ Bill will say, ‘You know what? You made me get rid of Jimmy Garoppolo. Remember when Tom Brady and his wife complained to you? Bring me back Garoppolo and I’ll show you I can get to the playoffs and do some damage.’ Mac Jones, I think we would agree he’s regressed a little bit. I think Jimmy Garoppolo to the Patriots makes a lot of sense.”"
Whether or not changes are made at the quarterback position for the Patriots this offseason is unknown. However, the conjecture will likely continue until a decision on the future of Jones as the starting quarterback is determined, and hopefully, that will occur sooner rather than later.