We’d like to invite you all to take a brief break from what seems like “Well ACTUALLY, Tom Brady may not be the GOAT!” Week 2017 and join us for something far more interesting: a legitimate inside scoop on what the guys and girls that eat, sleep, and breathe football for a living think of the potential Aaron Rodgers to Tom Brady’s Brett Favre - Jimmy Garoppolo.
In a welcome 180 from offseason power rankings, schedule breakdowns, and roster projections, CSNNE’s Mike Giardi wrangled a powerhouse round table of NFL talent evaluators to get their two cents on everything Garoppolo - why the Patriots said they weren’t interested in trading him, what makes him fit in New England, what his future could look like, and what he thinks of the Dunkin Donuts Mocha flavored Oreos.
Here’s the lineup, all of whom agreed to do this under the condition of anonymity:
- 1 former Patriots player that’s still playing in the NFL
- 2 AFC scouts
- 1 NFC scout
- 1 AFC front-office member (obviously, they can’t give away their job title, because that narrows it down pretty quickly)
The specific question Giardi posed was, “Why is Jimmy Garoppolo still here?” (meaning, obviously, in a Patriots uniform). Here’s what they had to say:
Scout 1 (AFC) -- "He's Bill Belichick. He doesn't give a [damn] about what you, or me or anyone else thinks. I know teams called about Garoppolo. I don't believe they were ever given a realistic price. Why? To me, the answer is simple: Bill thinks he's got the next great one. I watched his snaps. I think he can be that. [Garoppolo] has a great base, and his mechanics are close enough to [Brady] that you appreciate his willingness to learn and the coaching he's gotten there."
If you remember the weeks leading up to this year’s draft, even reasonable ballparks for what it would take for a Jimmy trade to happen were in the “This year’s first-round pick and multiple mid-round picks” territory, and some even got as high as multiple first-rounders (Hello, Cleveland!). Who wouldn’t take a deal like that? A coach that thinks he’s got a 10+ year starter, for one.
Scout 2 (AFC) -- "I absolutely loved the kid coming out of college. When we interviewed him, [it was obvious] he's got those qualities you want in a QB, as a leader. I begged our guys to take him at the end of the first round. That's how good I thought he was then. He's a hell of a lot better now. The job Bill and [offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels] have done with him, the work he clearly has put in, wrap all that up and it makes all the sense in the world to keep him. They can win with him. That's all you need to know -- in my opinion -- as to why they kept him. The moment that Brady guy starts to show cracks, the next guy is in already there, already knows the locker room, the system, the environment. I think it's genius."
Ah, remember back in the day, when Tom Brady’s defining attribute was “They can win with him” and not “He’s going to be on the MVP short list every year”? Good times.
Former Pats player -- "I played against him every day in practice. He's all that." Why? "He can make all the throws. He can process all the information. He is a gamer. He can slow it down. He can spin it. I'm going tell you this, if he had gotten traded to Cleveland, they're a borderline playoff team. I really believe that."
If you put your True Detective hat on, you can actually narrow this “Former Pats player” down to a pretty short list. We can assume it’s a defensive player, since they played against Jimmy in practice. They would’ve had to be on the roster in 2014, 2015, or 2016, and they would’ve left this offseason, at the latest.
Scout 3 (NFC) -- "I know teams called and got nowhere. Easy conclusion is they see Garoppolo as the next QB. But I think it could be as simple as the value there. He's the player one snap away. Weigh that against the third guy (Jacoby Brissett) or some vet and maybe it was just too wide a gap to risk it. Keep him. See how the year plays out and then decide, do we want to franchise him? Ink him to some kind of bridge deal? Or let him go off into free agency?"
Front Office (AFC) -- "Bill knows something we don't. That's the way I read it. Whether it's Brady's future, or what they didn't see in Brissett, or something about the makeup of Garoppolo, he just couldn't part company with him. I can't say as I blame him. Finding one good QB in this league is hard enough. Two? Maybe only a handful of teams in the league can say they have that. Plus, with Bill, he's not worried about coaching for his job. He can think big picture -- two, three, four years down the line. That's not something too many other coaches/front offices in this environment get. He can afford to pass on a handful of draft picks to keep a player he really likes."
As New England has learned in the past, oh, 18 years, “Bill knows something we don’t” is almost always a good thing.
One quick thing about that whole idea of franchise-tagging Jimmy G next year if Tom Brady is still out there doing Tom Brady things, though:
In 2018, New England is projected to have about $23.5 million in cap space, per Over the Cap.
The franchise tag for quarterbacks this season is $21.268 million, and it’ll no doubt be higher next year when the salary cap goes up.