Jimmy Garroppolo shined during his short stint as a starter for the New England Patriots and these five teams should be looking to trade for his services in 2017.
Jimmy Garoppolo is going to be a star. Yeah, I said it. Despite only appearing in two games for the New England Patriots this year, the kid from Eastern Illinois looked like a seasoned pro. He was calm, cool and poised in the pocket, while also taking the time to make smart, accurate decisions with the football.
In his two games as a starter, Garoppolo posted quarterback ratings over 100, throwing four touchdowns and zero interceptions. He completed 70.9 percent of his passes, which is a phenomenal stat. He was playing so well that the “Free Brady” movement was momentarily quieted.
And then he sustained an injury, causing his season as the Patriots’ starter came to a screeching halt. There would be no situation resembling the Patriots’ quarterback situation from 2001. With Brady’s return imminent, Garoppolo’s injury relegated him back to the shadows. Now, the Patriots have somewhat of a decision to make. Is Jimmy Garoppolo worth keeping around—or is it a wiser move to trade the young stud QB?
First and foremost, I 100 percent think the Patriots should part ways with Garoppolo. His value will literally never be higher. Add in the fact that Brady still looks like he can play for another five years, and you have the perfect recipe for a trade.
For what it’s worth, any team trying to trade for Garoppolo should be weary. I mean, how many times can you say a team trading with Bill Belichick won the trade? That said, you have to look at a wild card team like the New York Giants as a viable option to trade for Jimmy G. Eli Manning‘s currently in the midst of an erratic year, even by his standards. Ryan Nassib isn’t even an ideal option as a backup quarterback. So, if the Giants were to nab Garoppolo, they would likely let him marinate on the bench for a little bit, a la Aaron Rodgers.
Yet, they’re just a wild card as there are teams that make more sense than one that has Eli Manning already. Here are five teams that should try to trade for Jimmy Garoppolo.
Dec 11, 2016; Cleveland, OH, USA; Cleveland Browns quarterback Robert Griffin III (10) completes a pass during the second quarter against the Cincinnati Bengals at FirstEnergy Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Scott R. Galvin-USA TODAY Sports
The Logical Choice Scenario: Cleveland Browns
Saying the Cleveland Browns have quarterback issues would be like the Kardashians enjoy attention. While so much about the structure of the NFL perpetually changes, the one constant seems to be Cleveland’s quarterback deficiencies.
Robert Griffin III is not the quarterback of the future for the Browns. He’s hardly even the quarterback of the present. Could Cody Kessler eventually become the starter in Cleveland? Sure, I suppose. But he’s more of a question mark than anything.
The wild thing about Cleveland’s offense is that it actually has some talent. Terelle Pryor—despite what Pacman Jones and Janoris Jenkinsmay think—has successfully made the transition from quarterback to wide receiver. He’s been the lone bright spot on this gloomy Browns team for the majority of the season. Rookie Corey Coleman possess obviously transcendent talent and he’ll only get better.
Let’s also remember Browns head coach Hue Jackson is well-regarded as a proverbial quarterback whisperer. Because of that, there’s a chance he could be the key to unlocking Garopollo’s full potential.
December 11, 2016; Santa Clara, CA, USA; San Francisco 49ers wide receiver Quinton Patton (11) is tackled by New York Jets cornerback Juston Burris (32) during the first quarter at Levi
The Career Setback Scenario: San Francisco 49ers
San Francisco is the only team in the league that may have a quarterback situation worse than Cleveland’s. Blaine Gabbert remains an enormous disappointment, despite some decent play at times. Moreover, Colin Kaepernick‘s career has taken an unfortunate turn, highlighted by the fact that he’s now more of a controversial celebrity than NFL quarterback.
The 49ers are likely going to be moving on from Chip Kelly, and for good reason. Because of that, the Niners need to find a new quarterback. Well, the team needs to find a lot of things, but let’s take it one step at a time. For all intents and purposes, Garoppolo’s arrival would give the 49ers something to be happy about, which hasn’t happened for a while.
Out of all the options on this list, though, I think this would be the worst destination for Garoppolo. Where are the pieces to help him thrive? Who do the 49ers have at wide receiver? There’s a good chance Garoppolo would flounder in the Bay Area. While I think Garoppolo unquestionably has talent, I’m not sure his ability would be able to overcome the mess in San Francisco. I really hope this doesn’t happen, as it would be a major disappointment.
Dec 4, 2016; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago Bears quarterback Matt Barkley (12) makes a pass during the game against the San Francisco 49ers at Soldier Field. Mandatory Credit: Caylor Arnold-USA TODAY Sports
The Homecoming Scenario: Chicago Bears
I really like this option. Actually, strike that. I love this option. Seeing the Illinois-bred, Eastern Illinois University-studied Garoppolo return to the Prairie State would be a dandy for all parties involved.
First of all, Bears fans have suffered enough watching Jay Cutler under center. It’s been painful to watch, as Cutler’s soul-crushing interceptions have done nothing to propel the Bears to the head of the NFC North. That experiment should be over. Behind Cutler stands Brian Hoyer, a perennial journeyman. Hoyer’s not inherently awful, mind you. He’s a great “Plan B” for when a team’s starting quarterback gets hurt. But he’s not a good first option.
Matt Barkley’s been fine in limited action this year, but I can’t imagine him developing into anything but a backup. Trading for Garoppolo would give the Bears a young, exciting quarterback to build around. Maybe trading for Garoppolo would entice receivers—someone like, I don’t know, Alshon Jeffery—to come to the Windy City.
Additionally, assuming the Bears only surrender a second-round pick, Chicago would have the luxury of drafting another position of need come May. It would be like a Hollywood script. After enduring Cutler for years, Jimmy Garoppolo would likely be immediately embraced by Chicago’s fanbase.
Dec 4, 2016; Glendale, AZ, USA; Arizona Cardinals quarterback Carson Palmer (3) throws a pass in the second quarter against the Washington Redskins at University of Phoenix Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
The Lombardi Chasing Scenario: Arizona Cardinals
Would Belichick be willing to send more pieces to the desert? Of course, the Patriots shipped defensive stalwart Chandler Jones to the Cardinals last offseason in exchange for Jonathan Cooper. That’s just one example of these two teams have had a lot of connection over the past 12 months.
Arizona’s Super Bowl window is still open, but they just need a few more additions to make the next step. The defense is still there, as is an incredibly strong running game. The talent surrounding Garoppolo would allow him to ease into Bruce Arians’ system—provided, of course, the offensive line situation gets addressed.
Carson Palmer’s playing days are dwindling down. The former No. 1 overall pick appears to be playing on borrowed time and he hasn’t resembled his peak self this year. But that’s what happens to most quarterbacks of Palmer’s age; they decline. While there’s a serious possibility Tom Brady could play well into his 40s, the same can’t be said about Palmer.
If any teams know what Garoppolo’s capable of, it’s the Patriots and the Cardinals. Garoppolo’s first career start was on a Sunday night against the Cardinals in which he carved Arizona’s defense up to the tune of a 72.7 completion percentage, 264 yards and 106.1 quarterback rating. Jimmy Garoppolo slinging passes to Larry Fitzgerald would be quite the scene, wouldn’t it?
December 11, 2016; Santa Clara, CA, USA; New York Jets quarterback Bryce Petty (9) celebrates after the game against the San Francisco 49ers at Levi
The Real Big Apple Scenario: New York Jets
This would never happen, right? I mean, why would Bill Belichick trade Garoppolo to an arch-rival? Historically, Belichick’s traded his guys to out-of-conference opponents, which is the smart move. He sent Chandler Jones to Arizona, Randy Moss to Minnesota and Logan Mankins to Tampa Bay. And let’s not forget when he sent Deion Branch, a Super Bowl MVP, to the Seattle Seahawks.
But what if Gang Green desperately throws a first-round pick at the Patriots? Would Belichick deny the lure of acquiring an early-round pick? I would venture to say maybe, which I realize is a copout.
It’s no secret the Jets need a quarterback for the future and Jimmy Garoppolo may be that guy. For those of you who sincerely think the front office has faith in either Bryce Petty or Christian Hackenberg, keep in mind the team reportedly is infatuated with UNC’s Mitch Trubisky, according to Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News.
It’s unequivocally difficult to fathom. But if Darrelle Revis can sign with the Patriots, then go back to the Jets, I’m inclined to believe anything can happen in the NFL. I will say one thing about this possible deal: If Belichick were willing to give up Garoppolo to the Jets, regardless of the price, he would have to believe something was broken about Brady’s understudy.
It would be fantastic to see Tom Brady vs. Jimmy Garoppolo twice a year. And I’m sure Jets fans wouldn’t mind either.