ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported that the New England Patriots weren’t expecting to trade back-up QB Jimmy Garoppolo this offseason. He doubled down on that claim by joining WEEI to state, “Jimmy Garoppolo is going to be on the Patriots in 2017, no matter who called them and what anybody offers.”
Adam Schefter on @OMFonWEEI: "Jimmy Garoppolo is going to be on the Patriots in 2017 no matter who calls them and what anybody offers."— Ryan Hannable (@RyanHannable) March 1, 2017
Now Schefter is not one for idle claims, so there’s some merit to his assertion. The Patriots are not planning on trading Garoppolo this offseason, and here are the reasons why.
1. The quarterback-hungry teams aren’t giving up the necessary draft picks
The Patriots are only interested in trading Garoppolo if they get an amazing offer. An “amazing offer” might qualify as a top 10 pick, or draft picks equivalent to that value. The three teams that are capable of giving up that much draft capital are the Cleveland Browns, San Francisco 49ers, and the Chicago Bears.
It wouldn’t be crazy if these three teams approached the Patriots for negotiations and explicitly stated, “we’re not giving up our first round draft pick in the top three,” and that could have been the deal breaker for the Patriots. If those picks are not available, then the Patriots are not interested.
Now this could still change. Maybe the Browns will package their 12th overall pick and a mid-round conditional pick closer to draft day. But it’s hard to see the Patriots sticking to the “no matter what anybody offers” line if a top three draft pick is on the table.
Right now, perhaps those picks are not for sale, which is why Schefter feels confident enough to say that a trade will not take place.
2. The Patriots value Garoppolo more than a late first round pick
Now there is enough smoke around Garoppolo’s trade value to speculate what teams have been willing to trade for Garoppolo. So far, teams have been interested in Garoppolo if they can trade their early second round pick, alongside other early round picks. But the total value of the draft picks isn’t enough entice the Patriots because head coach Bill Belichick would rather have a year or two of Garoppolo instead of a couple second round picks.
Now you can absolutely get a franchise player in the 30-40th overall range, where the Patriots would be acquiring a draft pick. Players like Muhammad Wilkerson or Derek Wolfe or Derek Carr or Andy Dalton or Travis Frederick have been selected there over the past five seasons.
But QB Tom Brady is going to be 40 years old. While he’s shown no signs of stopping, what if he suffers a severe injury in 2017? Or what if he hits a cliff and falls apart? There’s no player worth more than a franchise quarterback, and if the Patriots believe they have one in Garoppolo, then they won’t send him away for a lottery ticket.
The calling card of Belichick’s rosters has always been its exceptional depth, and quarterback should be no different. The Patriots can always keep winning if someone suffers an injury at any position.
Garoppolo is likely to yield a 2019 3rd round compensatory pick if he leaves in 2018 free agency, assuming the Patriots don’t tag him to keep him around. How much is he worth to the Patriots as an insurance policy? Apparently more than any other team has offered thus far in the offseason.