New England may have the hottest trade chip of the offseason (aka Jimmy Garoppolo) who will be the topic of the NFL rumor mill for months to come
Once again the New England Patriots are Super Bowl champions! With the ageless wonder Tom Brady looking to play another five years, the need for an immediate replacement is unnecessary. This makes former second-round draft pick Jimmy Garoppolo extremely expendable this offseason as he heads into the final year of his rookie contract.
If one thing is for certain this offseason, it’s that New England will auction Garoppolo to the highest bidder.
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With that being said, how many suitors will arrive at Bill Belichick’s auction house for the opportunity to have a potential franchise quarterback who has learned from the all-time great?
Obvious candidates will be the Cleveland Browns, San Francisco 49ers, and Chicago Bears, who own the first, second, and third overall picks, respectively, in this spring’s draft. Each team has a hole at the quarterback position and could use a young leader to move a stagnant franchise forward.
Another suitor will be the Houston Texans, who blindly paid Brock Osweiler last year to be one of the worst starters in the NFL. Bill O’Brien worked for Belichick for five years on the offensive side of the football before taking the job at Penn State and has a strong enough relationship to work a reasonable deal with the franchise that gave him his big break.
Beyond those teams, there are few obvious candidates. It would be hard to see Minnesota making a move this drastic with Sam Bradford back for another year and the future of Teddy Bridgewater murky.
It would be hard to see the Jets and Patriots making this kind of move given their history, but the Jets need a quarterback and may bite the bullet and make a deal with the devil. Same can be said for Buffalo if Sean McDermott moves on from Tyrod Taylor.
Arizona, Kansas City, New Orleans, the New York Giants, and Los Angeles Chargers will need to look at finding a new quarterback soon but do not expect any of those teams to look at Garoppolo. Not this offseason, but next year I would expect all three to look at life after Brees, Manning, and Rivers more seriously.
Looking at the NFL as a whole you can pinpoint four or five teams who could realistically make the move to acquire Garoppolo: Cleveland, San Francisco, Chicago, Houston, and the Jets. The Browns may have the upper hand with two first-round picks at their disposal this year, and could easily move the 12th overall pick (acquired via Philadelphia for the second-overall pick i.e. Carson Wentz) for Jimmy G.
It would be hard to see the top three teams move their highest picks for this year, but a second round pick and possibly a conditional fourth could do the job.