- Winslow Townson/AP
New England Patriots backup quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo is the most desirable name for teams in need of a franchise quarterback, but a new report from ESPN’s Adam Schefter on Wednesday said the Pats are “not expected to” trade him this summer.
Garoppolo, who started the first two games of the past season during Tom Brady’s suspension, will be a free agent after next season. Because Brady has shown no signs of slowing down (or retiring), and because Garoppolo is just 25 and has played well during his few starts, the thinking has long been that New England would trade him this summer.
But Schefter’s report complicates that.
In a move that will have a ripple effect on all QB-needy teams, Patriots are not expected to trade QB Jimmy Garoppolo, per league sources.
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) March 1, 2017
One report, even from someone as well-connected as Schefter, by no means guarantees that Garoppolo will still be on the Patriots’ roster next season. This report certainly won’t deter teams; if anything, a report like this will only drive up the price. In fact, some will believe that this information was leaked to Schefter with this goal in mind.
Previous reports have said the Patriots want a 1st and 4th round pick for Garoppolo. Garoppolo is young, has learned under Brady and Belichick, and would be wasted riding the bench as Brady plays into his 60s. Someone is going to make the Patriots a ridiculous offer for him.
But if, for some reason, the Patriots do decide to keep him for another season as insurance (remember that Brady turns 40 in August), they could still wind up trading him before he hits free agency. For example, the Pats could give him the franchise tag after the end of the season, which would prevent him from hitting the market. From there, they could trade him somewhere else with the tag already in place and he could then negotiate a long-term deal with his new team. This would broadly be the same as a sign-and-trade in the NBA.
For now, though, Garoppolo remains the most intriguing name this offseason. And as Schefter noted, once his future is decided, a lot of other quarterback dominoes around the league will start to fall.