The New England Patriots were hoping they would be able to retain back-up quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo on a long term deal to serve as the eventual successor to Tom Brady, whenever the day came for Brady to step down. The two sides couldn’t find even ground and eventually the Patriots sent Garoppolo to the San Francisco 49ers.
There were differing reports over the offseason about what teams had been willing to offer the Patriots in exchange for Garoppolo (most were just the Cleveland Browns negotiating against themselves), but the Patriots held on to their back-up for the start of the 2017 season.
ESPN’s Seth Wickersham is now reporting that the Patriots “repeatedly offered Garoppolo” multi-year contracts that would have allowed Garoppolo to transition into a starting job, but Garoppolo did not accept them.
“The Patriots repeatedly offered Garoppolo four-year contract extensions, in the $17 million to $18 million range annually that would go higher if and when he succeeded Brady,” Wickersham reports in his long profile of the changing dynamics in New England. “Garoppolo and Yee rejected the offers out of hand, for reasons that remain unclear, and the Patriots knew they couldn’t make any promises to Garoppolo about the timing of a transition at quarterback without it getting back to Brady.”
With Brady still openly declaring that he wants to play into his mid-40s and even opening the door to playing beyond, it wouldn’t make sense for Garoppolo to serve as back-up for four more seasons without a guarantee of getting an eventual starting job.
So now Garoppolo is a 49er about to land a huge contract, while the Patriots are looking for his replacement and eventual heir to Brady.
Also, according to both NBC’s Tom Curran and the Herald’s Jeff Howe, the Patriots never made Garoppolo an official offer, so it comes down to whether you believe a national writer or the local beat writers (I trust the local writers to have the more granular details 90% of the time, with Adam Schefter being the other 10%).
I don’t think the Patriots made a concrete offer to Garoppolo, so much as bounced ideas around as to what it would take to retain the back-up and they realized there was nothing they could do to satisfy Garoppolo. He wanted playing time and New England couldn’t provide that, especially with Brady still playing at an MVP level and in the middle of the best three-season stretch of his career.
Garoppolo will likely receive much more than $18 million per year from the 49ers, too, so the gamble definitely paid off for him.