Tom Brady ain’t retiring anytime soon. He told WEEI “When I suck, I’ll retire. But I don’t plan on sucking for a long time.” He laughed at Tedy Bruschi when his former teammate suggested that he’d call it quits after the 2017 season, and he emailed a friend saying that he had 7 or 8 years to go while Peyton Manning only had about 2 years left in him. And he’s currently debating whether or not he should pass on that avocado ice cream for dessert tonight because, after all, Super Bowl 51 is only 361 days away.
That leaves Jimmy Garoppolo, the guy who is fast becoming the Patriots’ version of Aaron Rodgers. Garoppolo deserves to have a starting job in the NFL, given the crappy quarterbacks that permeate the league. Hell, the NFL rumor mill today has given us the possibility that the Eagles want Nick Foles back, because apparently the universe decided that Philadelphia sports is where happiness goes to die.
The Garoppolo-Rodgers comparison fails on a few levels, most notably with the draft position of the duo. Rodgers fell to 24 after the 49ers passed on him with the 1st overall pick, and somehow 22 other teams decided that they didn’t need a quarterback. (That fact alone shows you how much the NFL has changed in the past decade. If Rodgers fell from #1 right now, there would be countless teams — even if they had a good QB already — who would be lining up to trade for a top 5 pick to get him.) Born out of the draft position is the other main difference between the two, because Rodgers signed the mandated 5 year contract because he was drafted in the latter half of the 1st round. Meanwhile, Garoppolo will be a UFA after just his 4th season, and QBs nowadays usually receive an extension after their 3rd season.
Garoppolo has already warmed the bench for 2 seasons, which means that he would typically get extended after the 2016 campaign. At that point, New England would need to make a decision between their two QBs. Belichick may always look for the better asset, but that doesn’t mean that he’d pass on the more expensive, older QB. Brady picks apart defenses like nobody else with a healthy offense, and hoping that Jimmy G would get to the same place would be closer to a pipedream than a realistic expectation.
The Patriots could wait until after the 2016 season to trade Garoppolo, and that might be the play if Brady does get suspended for 4 games. They can’t trade Jimmy before the hearings are completed, because they might need a good quarterback for the first 4 games of the season. For the purposes of this column, I’m assuming that Brady will beat the suspension again, because this time, the burden of proof is on the NFL to change Judge Richard Berman’s ruling. If Brady does get suspended, then Belichick should trot out Garoppolo for 4 games, have him hopefully play well against opponents with all of the Pats offensive weapons healthy at the start of the season, and then trade him after the 2016 season with a year left on his deal.
If Brady beats the NFL though (again), the Pats should move Jimmy G this offseason. The belief around the league that “You need a QB to win” is at an all time high, and it’s 100% true unless you have one of the best defenses of all time like the Broncos. Another team would love to bring in a hyped, young QB like Garoppolo and try him out for a year before he can even think about an extension.
The first team example that comes to mind as an example is the Houston Texans. They have a pretty good team other than at the quarterback position, and while they do have cap space, they also have expensive contracts over the next few years. With JJ Watt’s deal and DeAndre Hopkins pending extension, Houston would love a cheap quarterback. Even though Jimmy G didn’t play under Bill O’Brien in New England, both of them will be familiar with how the other thinks. And it’s become more apparent than ever that the Texans simply wanna recreate the Patriots and move them South.
I wouldn’t have an issue with BB waiting until the 2017 offeseason to trade Garoppolo, but if Brady beats the suspension, then I’d rather capitalize on Jimmy’s value when he’s 24 instead of 25, has 2 years on his cheap rookie deal instead of 1, and when half the league needs a QB like they need oxygen. Garoppolo would earn a king’s ransom for the Patriots, and my guess is a late 1st round pick and a 4th rounder as a cherry on top. That would be a nice way to make up for Roger Goodell swiping those picks from the Pats in this upcoming draft.