Peter King’s Monday Morning Quarterback columns are usually full of nuggets and tidbits, and, while traveling to Tom Brady’s Montana hideaway to take in Brady’s explanation of how the New England Patriots put together the greatest comeback in Super Bowl history is worth reading, it’s not our focal point.
Yes, you’ll want to read Monday’s installment, which includes an update about Brady’s health (he says he’s 100 percent), how he handled being down big at halftime, and the precise moment Brady knew his team was back in the game.
However, for our purposes, let’s focus on the future of Brady’s backup. Because King writes that he believes Jimmy Garoppolo will not be traded this offseason, despite all the obvious reasons that would point to a deal getting done. King attempts to think like Patriots boss Bill Belichick in an attempt to make sense of standing pat with Garoppolo as New England’s No. 2 quarterback.
First, he opines Belichick might believe Garoppolo is the first player suited to be the team’s next long-term solution at the position in the 17 seasons since the Patriots drafted Brady. Second, King lays out a thought process in which Belichick would rather have a quarterback familiar with his roster and scheme in case of an emergency than the first-round pick Garoppolo could possibly fetch in a deal.
King’s portrayal of Belichickian logic is sensible on both fronts, which suggests things can become complicated for front offices pinning their hopes on acquiring Garoppolo in a trade. If King turns out to be correct, it throws a wrench in a bunch of offseason plans … for the Bears and other teams. Or it could lead to a team getting really desperate and blowing the doors of with a Godfather-style offer Bill Belichick can’t refuse.
Hopefully the Bears, who’ve reportedly made Garoppolo their top offseason priority, won’t go quite that far.
More from the Garoppolo rumor mill …
- Among the most viable contenders to make a trade for the man, the Bears might land among the favorites, in part, because of their in-depth look at Garoppolo. Adam Hoge of WGN points out that while other teams only have six quarters of meaningful game tape on Garoppolo, GM Ryan Pace and head coach John Fox have three days of up-close practice reps last year on which to judge the New England backup. And remember, Garoppolo was splitting first-team reps as the Patriots prepared to play without Brady for four games to begin the 2016 season. The teams have already come together on three trades in Pace’s time in Chicago (Martellus Bennett, Jon Bostic, Ryan Groy) and familiarity can always be helpful in trade talks.
- Garoppolo has his own bit of leverage, too, since teams dealing for him will likely want to commit to an extension after parting with draft picks for a player otherwise under control only one year. Hoge writes Garoppolo could have some say where he ends up because teams are more likely to offer more in a trade for a player who will be a long-term fixture. Now, imagine Garoppolo letting the Browns know he won’t sign an extension if traded to Cleveland. It’s the kind of decision that could move that particular team out of the picture.
- Speaking of Cleveland, one of its ex-quarterbacks sees a future in which Garoppolo is a franchise quarterback. Old friend Josh McCown, who was recently released by the Browns, told Mary Kay Cabot of Cleveland.com that Garoppolo has the potential to carry a franchise. “He made some high level throws and did some things that would get you excited about his ability to maybe carry a franchise. That’s definitely on the tape,” McCown told Cleveland.com, adding he saw traits in Garoppolo that reminded him of Oakland’s Derek Carr and Green Bay’s Aaron Rodgers. And if any franchise needs a quarterback with that kind of ability to raise the franchise up, it’s the woeful Browns. (Or, well, the Bears.)
- Ben Volin of the Boston Globe writes trading Tom Brady’s backup before the draft (rather than during training camp) is an offseason must. Volin argues that while Garoppolo could be the next big thing, the Patriots’ top priority should be surrounding Brady with talent – and dealing Garoppolo while his stock is at its highest could help with that.
- It’s worth noting that trading Garoppolo wouldn’t mean the Patriots would be without a backup. The team drafted Jacoby Brissett in the third round of the 2016 draft, opening the door for a Garoppolo trade if New Engalnd’s front office truly believes in its third stringer. Though, it’s not as if Brady’s backups have a great history. As for the trade value, Volin notes that history suggests the Patriots should expect a second-round pick coming their way for Garoppolo, based on trades of Matt Cassel, Kevin Kolb, and Matt Schaub in previous years.
- While history should be used as a guide to gauge our expectations, it doesn’t mean the Patriots won’t try to blow past previous trades to set a new market. Over at NESN, Doug Kyed details what New England should demand at the negotiation table with the Bears, Browns, 49ers, and Texans, as well as two teams not previously connected to the Garoppolo derby. Kyed also lists the New Orleans Saints and Arizona Cardinals. While the Saints and Cardinals are considered long shots to land Garoppolo, their inclusion helps create more of a market for the Patriots, thus, potentially improves their positioning in negotiations.
- As for the Bears specifically, Kyed suggests the possibility of the Patriots sending Garoppolo and team’s first-round pick (32nd overall) to Chicago for the third overall selection. It would be a game-changer, but unrealistic because of Garoppolo’s contract is in its final year. HOWEVER, a first-round pick in 2018 could be in the works if the Bears sent their second-round selection in 2017 to New England for Garoppolo (plus other picks as necessary to balance things out) – which seems like the kind of deal that is more plausible from a Bears perspective than giving up the number three pick overall.