Even though he has started only two games over the course of his three-year career, New England Patriots backup quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo is currently one of the hottest names on the trade market. And why wouldn’t he be? Despite the small sample size, the 25-year old has looked like a legitimate NFL quarterback when under center.
The Patriots know this as well – and that players of this potential are in high demand. Naturally, with Tom Brady not looking as if he would slow down anytime soon and with Jacoby Brissett drafted in the third round this year, New England appears to be ready to trade Garoppolo to the highest bidder next spring.
Garoppolo, who the Patriots picked in the second round of the 2014 draft, is currently in the penultimate season of his four-year rookie contract. Naturally, this means that if New England indeed has intentions to move the former Eastern Illinois quarterback, next offseason is the time to do so.
And those interested in the quarterback’s services, according to Adam Schefter, who joined WEEI’s Kirk and Callahan earlier today, would have to pay a lot if they want to enter any trade discussions:
.@AdamSchefter says discussions for Jimmy G in a trade start at a 1st & 4th round draft pick (the Sam Bradford return)
As the Tweet above notes, a 1st and 4th rounder – coincidentally what New England lost because of the NFL’s ridiculous Deflategate punishments – is what the Philadelphia Eagles received when they traded Sam Bradford to the Minnesota Vikings earlier this year.
Is it realistic to expect a similar return for the Patriots? Given the value of quarterbacks combined with Garoppolo’s age (he is roughly four years younger than Bradford) and potential, it seems to be worth it. But will teams actually will pay that much for a player that has thrown a mere 93 passes in his pro career? That is a different story; one that could go both ways.
Compared to the benchmark – Bradford – Garoppolo stacks up well in terms of efficiency statistics. He has a higher completion percentage, more yards per attempt, and a higher passer rating. And, since stats never tell the whole story, he has also shown an ability to run what is probably the most complicated offense in the NFL. On the other hand, however, the former first overall draft pick has thrown almost 2,200 more career passes at the time of the trade; having played 47 more games.
In the end, economics will decide whether or not New England will receive the draft picks it wants. If a team – possibly the Cleveland Browns or Chicago Bears? – decides on Garoppolo to be its quarterback of the future and is willing to pay both draft picks and the contract he will demand once he enters free agency in 2018, then the Patriots will likely be able to get the first and fourth round picks they want. If short-term security – as the Vikings received with Bradford – is worth it, potential long-term security definitely is.
However, if the market does not develop the way the team hopes it does, it might have to re-adjust its asking price. It is doubtful, though, that New England settles for anything less than a first or high second round selection even if it means not trading Garoppolo at all.