Coming off yet another Super Bowl victory, the Patriots have been the NFL’s busiest team so far in the 2017 offseason and more moves are surely on the horizon. However, they have yet to address the status of arguably their biggest trade chip in Jimmy Garoppolo, leaving his status for the upcoming season completely up in the air. With many split on how the Patriots should approach what could be a franchise-altering decision, it’s time to evaluate what would ultimately be best for the team by looking at the cases for and against a Jimmy Garoppolo trade.
Why the Patriots Should Trade Garoppolo
- Helps team compile future assets while potentially improving roster around Tom Brady
Given Garoppolo’s status as a backup and the lofty return he’d likely fetch in a potential trade, it could be argued that trading him would help the Patriots win now and build for the future concurrently.
- Tom Brady is not a human being
At the age of 39, Brady put together what was arguably his best statistical season in 2016 with 3554 yards, 28 TDs, and 2 INTs in 12 games. Given that stellar performance and the fact that he takes such amazing care of his body (more on that here: https://www.feelguide.com/2017/01/15/the-tao-of-tom-how-tom-brady-uses-an-80-20-diet-meditation-yoga-one-book-to-age-backwards/), Brady enters 2017 as the unquestioned starter and looks to have at least 2-3 years of quality play remaining.
- Golden Opportunity Looms
With three first round picks and five second round picks in the next two years, the Cleveland Browns could easily match the Patriots’ asking price in any deal, and given their inability to develop a quarterback of their own they’d likely have strong interest. It’s hard to see the Patriots getting a better opportunity than this.
Why the Patriots Should Keep Garoppolo
- Garoppolo is easily the best insurance to Brady that the Patriots could obtain for 2017
If anything were to happen to Tom Brady, who will play next season at the age of 40, the drop-off would be less substantial to Garoppolo than to any other feasible alternative. In fact, Garoppolo would not only keep the team’s title hopes afloat, but they could thrive with him at QB (which can rarely be said about backup QBs around the league).
- Having Garoppolo protects against a potential Brady decline
While nothing Brady did in 2016 suggests that a decline is looming in the immediate future, Father Time is undefeated and keeping Garoppolo gives the Patriots a ready-to-go option for 2018 and beyond in the event that Brady significantly regresses.
- Franchise Tag a Viable Option to Retain Garoppolo’s Rights Beyond 2017
With no other obvious candidates for the Patriots’ franchise tag next offseason, tagging Garoppolo wouldn’t have long-term ramifications on the franchise. From here, they could either work on an extension for him and commit to him as the future starter (in the event that Brady falters) or trade him to a QB-needy team at this time (in the event that Brady’s strong play continues, since he likely wouldn’t sign the tender to stay on as Brady’s backup).
While a Jimmy Garoppolo trade makes all the sense in the world on paper and he certainly doesn’t need another year on the bench, I believe his value as an insurance policy (both in 2017 and into the future) exceeds the benefit of adding other assets to an already strong roster. Heading into this year, Brady already has more quality weapons than he’s ever had in the past (Gronk, Cooks, Edelman, Hogan, White, etc) and the defense looks to be in good shape with no clear holes despite Malcolm Butler’s seemingly-impending departure. Furthermore, franchise quarterbacks are extremely hard to find, and potentially giving one up prematurely at the expense of a soon-to-be 40 year old (even if he isn’t an ordinary 40 year old) would be tough to swallow. Passing on an offer from the pick-rich Cleveland Browns would also be difficult, but given the fact that the franchise tag would give the Patriots control over Garoppolo after the upcoming season as explained above, why should they rush to make this type of move? Delaying their decision on a Garoppolo trade until after the upcoming season would allow them to make the safest and most informed decision, as they would get another look at Tom Brady without having to worry about losing Garoppolo. From there, only time will tell what they choose to do.