Jimmy Garoppolo proved early in the 2016 season that he can be a viable starting quarterback for a playoff-caliber team in Tom Brady's absence, but with a 39-year-old Brady declaring that he doesn't plan to retire anytime soon, the Patriots have to decide whether to keep Garoppolo as Brady's successor or cash him in for valuable NFL Draft picks.
Colin Cowherd believes the Patriots could land a fortune for Garoppolo - who is more of a sure-thing than any QB in the draft class - on the trade market, and earlier this week Julian Edelman showered Garoppolo with praise.
Former Patriots offensive coordinator Eric Mangini argued that Belichick is obligated to keep Garoppolo for the good of the franchise if he believes Garoppolo is a future star, but on Wednesday's episode of The Herd, Colin Cowherd argued that the decision over Garoppolo's future will come down to how much longer Belichick plans to coach.
Mark J. RebilasMark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
Julian Edelman: Jimmy Garoppolo is a stud
“Jimmy Garoppolo, you know, the guy’s a stud. He went out and played in the regular season and he played very well. He’s got that kind of gunslinger confidence. That Brett Favre, Aaron Rodgers kind of confidence.”
Kirby LeeUSA TODAY Sports
Eric Mangini: Belichick has a responsibility to keep Garoppolo if he believes Garoppolo can be great
“I don’t think Bill’s made very many mistakes, especially in the quarterback area ... He’s got the most information of anybody on Garoppolo. He’s seen him in meetings, he’s seen him at practice. He knows his strengths, he knows his weaknesses.
If you think he’s a franchise quarterback, and you’re sitting on a 39-year-old quarterback, it’s your obligation to do everything you can to keep that guy. To have that succession plan in place - not just for yourself, but for the organization.
And I’d say anybody that’s going to trade with him, it’s buyer beware.”
Bob DonnanBob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports
Cowherd: The Garoppolo decision comes down to Bill Belichick's own plans for retirement
“It’s a very fair point, but to me this all comes down to one issue. Bill Belichick’s 64. How long does he want to coach? How long does Bill want to coach? After the Super Bowl, if Bill’s saying ‘I’m going to go to 67, maybe, three [or] four more years. And he thinks Brady’s going to give him that, then you can trade Garoppolo.
But I want to give you a fairly startling number to think about, and I think Belichick is very aware of this. Here is Bill Belichick’s career record with Brady and all the other quarterbacks, which includes Garoppolo, Brissett, Drew Bledsoe.”
Cowherd: Belichick knows he hasn't been successful without Tom Brady
“He has won with Brady by almost 10 points a game. That’s his average points-per-game difference. All the other quarterbacks combined, less than a point.
14 division titles with Brady, zero with the rest of them. Playoff wins, 25 with Brady. All others? One. Super Bowl appearances? Seven-nothing with Brady and without. All those other quarterbacks are not necessarily stiffs. Drew Bledsoe was in that group.
I think Belichick knows, ‘listen, I’ve seen how this works.’”
Joe CamporealeJoe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports
Cowherd: He may not want to face the challenge of coaching a Brady-less team
“Now think about this: The year they lost after an undefeated regular season - this is one of the worst conversations in sports that people continue to have. ‘Well with Matt Cassel they won 11 games!’
Think about this. Tom Brady, the year before, they beat people by an average of 17.5. That’s including the loss to the Giants in the Super Bowl. Now think about that. That’s what Alabama does. That’s what Clemson does.
Same players the following year [with Matt Cassel], no playoffs. Point differential? Under a touchdown. So Belichick can simply look at metrics and say ‘Tom has been worth 10 to 11 points a game in my career.’"
Steve MitchellSteve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports
Cowherd: If Belichick only has a few years left, he should deal Garoppolo
"And Belichick may be sitting there thinking ‘I’m 64. Tom’s got, after that Super Bowl, two to three more good years.’ And if Belichick’s saying ‘at 67 I’m done. I’m not going to be pathetic, I’m not going to hang on. I’m not going to be frustrated.’ It’s very reasonable to assume that Belichick’s got about three years left. I don’t see him coaching into his 70s.
I think Belichick is thinking ‘I may just play Tom for three years and step aside.’ And if that’s the case, then you move Garoppolo and get picks. But the numbers and the metrics are clear. Belichick’s got a losing record without Tom starting.
It all comes down to Belichick, to me. Bill Belichick knows what he’s going to do. Before you retire, you think about retirement. Everybody who retires says ‘I knew three years out.’ Belichick’s a smart guy, he’s not making it up. Bill’s got an end date…. If it’s three years or less, then you trade Garoppolo. If it’s five years or more, then you don’t."