National Football League

Jimmy Garoppolo could be headed back to the New England Patriots

April 28

It might be reunion time in New England.

Ever since the San Francisco 49ers acquired the third overall pick from the Miami Dolphins, rumors have swirled about what the franchise will do with starter under center Jimmy Garoppolo.

Although nothing is certain, the Niners have been linked to several rookie quarterbacks, including Alabama's Mac Jones and North Dakota State's Trey Lance, which means Garoppolo's days in the Bay Area could be numbered.

As such, some believe Garoppolo might head back to New England, where he would be reunited with coach Bill Belichick. 

Garoppolo was originally shipped out of Foxborough, by most accounts, to appease former quarterback and seven-time Super Bowl champion Tom Brady.

Now, Brady resides down south with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and Kevin Wildes believes Belichick would love nothing more than to beat Brady with Garoppolo, the quarterback Belichick never wanted to give up.

"Now I think that Bill Belichick wants to prove that he was right all the entire time. When Brady comes into Gillette [stadium] this season, I think more than anything, Bill Belichick would love to see Tom Brady leave the game losing with Bruce Arians and Jimmy G winning that game."

The Patriots re-signed quarterback Cam Newton to another one-year deal after he led the club to a 7-9 record last season, but popular opinion is that Belichick will broker a deal to bring his previously groomed 2014 second-round pick home.

Garoppolo knows the Patriots' system, and with Belichick looking to win now, the QB's Super Bowl experience – he helped lead the Niners to Super Bowl LIV in 2019-20  – only helps his odds. 

While Skip Bayless could see Garoppolo back in New England, he doesn't think it's the right move for the franchise.

"Will he move back to Foxborough? I'm going to say a big yes to that. And I'm going to say no on the idea of doing it because it will be a bad idea for Belichick."

In three seasons with San Francisco, Garoppolo has played in just 25 regular-season games because of injuries, and his injury-riddled 2020-21 campaign squashed any hopes of the franchise playing in a second consecutive Super Bowl.

In addition, during that 2019-20 Super Bowl run, it became clear that coach Kyle Shanahan didn't quite trust his quarterback's arm, considering that Garoppolo had 27 pass attempts combined in the divisional round and NFC Championship Game.

Then, on the biggest stage, Garoppolo faltered in the final quarter, completing only three of 11 passes for 36 yards.

With numbers such as those, Nick Wright said he would prefer starting over with a rookie quarterback, as opposed to continuing with Garoppolo in San Francisco.

"Would you rather get a blue-chip rookie, plus Garoppolo, and have that be your plan moving forward? Or use that same capital on going out and getting Justin Fields? I would prefer the Justin Fields option."

There is a growing sense in the league that Ohio State's Justin Fields will be the final quarterback to hear his name called among the perceived top five signal-callers, after Clemson's Trevor Lawrence, BYU's Zach Wilson, Jones and Lance.

The Patriots hold the No. 15 pick, and it is unlikely Fields will still be available then, which means New England might have to trade up into the top 10 to get him.

Belichick, however, is known for trading down to acquire additional picks, rather than mortgaging the franchise's future with blockbuster trades, but reports have circulated that he has been calling teams, looking to make a trade, and he was even linked to the Atlanta Falcons, who hold the No. 4 overall pick.

If New England had even a conversation with Atlanta, that means all possibilities are on the table for Belichick & Co.

It's time for wait-and-see mode.

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