Brady was coming off a statistically weak 2013 season, but there were plenty of excuses. The offensive line was bad, the entire receiving corp was brand new, tight end Rob Gronkowski was hurt. But the selection of Garoppolo seemed to put a ticking clock on Brady's career in New England.
So Brady did his normal thing and won a Super Bowl and put up an MVP-caliber 2015 season.
Therefore, ESPN is conjuring up some "bold moves" and suggest that the Patriots should trade him. No, not Brady. Trade Jimmy Garoppolo.
"At some point, Brady will likely hit a sudden decline similar to what Brett Favre and Peyton Manning suffered in their final seasons," the article suggests. "Nobody knows when that will come. But the Patriots should take a gamble, hoping the decline won't happen in the next two years, and do whatever they can to maximize their chances of winning Brady and Bill Belichick a record fifth Super Bowl title together.
"The Patriots have a number of needs and no first-round pick to help fill them. The next-best thing would be a second-round pick, and there's a good chance they could get one by dealing Garoppolo. That pick could find them the improvement they desperately need on the interior offensive line, or a young cornerback, or a second tight end to complement Rob Gronkowski in two-TE sets."
And, crazy enough, I agree. What if the Patriots traded away Garoppolo for an early 2nd round pick? He's a better option than Michigan State's Connor Cook, or Penn State's Christian Hackenberg.
On that note, what if the Texans offered their 2nd and 3rd for Garoppolo? Who says no?
While the Patriots might not be able to get an immediate starter as a rookie, perhaps the Patriots could flip the draft capital into a more established player. The Jets traded a 5th round pick for wide receiver Brandon Marshall- crazier things have happened.
Or perhaps the Patriots use those picks on some quality prospects; they could package a few together to chase a blue chipper at the top of the 2nd round.
But the longer the Patriots sit with Garoppolo on the roster, the more his value will decrease. He still has two years on his deal, which would give an interested team plenty of time to decide if he's their franchise guy, or not- and the Patriots could invest another later round pick on a high-upside replacement and bring in a veteran back-up for the interim.
Matt Cassel just so happens to be a free agent at this point in time.