The New England Patriots have flipped 2016 third round QB Jacoby Brissett to the Indianapolis Colts in exchange for 2015 first round WR Phillip Dorsett and I have one big takeaway from the transaction.
The Patriots must have a plan in place for a Jimmy Garoppolo extension.
Brissett was on the Patriots roster as the third quarterback and he was trying to make the team comfortable enough to move on from Garoppolo next offseason. Garoppolo was set to be a free agent and the Patriots would likely have to guarantee an excess of $20 million to retain Garoppolo’s services, either under an extension or by the franchise tag.
The Patriots kept Brissett around as insurance in case Garoppolo was traded this past offseason or this upcoming year; the team would prefer to have someone that had spent a season or two in the program as a back-up.
The trade of Brissett signals that the Patriots are comfortable not having a third string quarterback with experience in the system and, to me, that implies the Patriots have an extension in place with Garoppolo.
A franchise tag on Garoppolo would cost roughly $24 million next year, so I’m sure both Garoppolo and the Patriots would be fine agreeing to a premature extension this year to give Garoppolo cash now and to spread his cap hit across two seasons.
My guess: the Patriots have reached a one-year extension at $24 million for Garoppolo, fully guaranteed, with an agreement that the Patriots can’t use the franchise tag on him after the 2018 season. The team divides the cap across two years and Garoppolo stays with the team as the back-up.
And then the Patriots will draft another quarterback early in the 2018 NFL Draft to prepare, once again, for Garoppolo to hit free agency.