When the Patriots realized they were running out of options for the Jimmy Garoppolo situation they found themselves in, ultimately dealing him away to the West Coast back at the trade deadline, I was sad. I felt a mix of emotions. I got all my feelings out by writing a piece about it.
When New England drafted Garoppolo in 2014, everyone assumed he was the next franchise quarterback of the Patriots. The next Tom Brady. The next handsome guy throwing touchdowns passes at Gillette Stadium. The next quarterback that New Englanders treated as if he was God himself. I thought Jimmy was going to be that guy too. I wanted him to be that guy.
Instead, he’s going to be that guy for the 49ers, and after signing his five-year deal with the team, he’s now the highest paid player in the NFL. As a Patriots fan, when I learned that San Francisco had locked him up, the sadness that I felt when we traded him came back, because he was supposed to be our guy. That ship has sailed. The Patriots are back to square one when it comes to finding Brady’s successor.
Of course, the silver lining of losing out on Garoppolo is that the Patriots have a few more years of Brady. The greatest quarterback of all time, who will turn 41 years old just before the 2018 season begins, claims to have a few more great years in him. And that very well may be true, considering there is no athlete in the world that keeps himself in better shape (he probably hasn’t tasted chocolate in 10 years). Brady won Super Bowls at age 37 and age 39, and reached the Super Bowl again at age 40 while winning the NFL MVP award. He’s aged better than an elf from Middle-Earth.
There’s no denying that Brady, even at age 41, will most likely have the Pats in the race for another Super Bowl. But this is the thought I’ve really been trying to avoid because it almost feels blasphemous, and it kind of makes me feel like I’ve committed treason or something. I can’t really help it, though. Brady is going to be 41 years old next season. At best, he’ll have 3-4 good, probably not great, years left. Is it worth milking the last couple of years out of Brady when we could have had Jimmy Garoppolo, about to enter the prime of his career, as our quarterback for the next 10- 12 years or so?
With Jimmy as the quarterback of the Patriots, they would still be Super Bowl contenders. They would still be winning the AFC East every year. They would have a 26-year-old quarterback, who is currently 7-0 as a starter (two wins with the Patriots, five wins with the Niners), and every non-Pats fan in America would continue to hate them because they would still be the big, bad Patriots. And we Pats fans love being the big, bad Pats right?
Apparently, Bill Belichick realized this opportunity. He apparently realized that, in the best interest of the team’s future, it was time to finally move on from Brady, as painful as it would be. But the organization is loyal to Brady until the end. They don’t have it in them to tell the greatest quarterback ever that his time is up. And it makes complete sense. I’m not sure I would have the guts to do that either.
But it would have been the right thing to do, and I hate myself for saying that. I’ve been trying to avoid saying that ever since Jimmy was traded. Trust me, nobody loves Tom Brady more than me. Just ask my girlfriend; I have a Brady poster hanging on the wall in my closet, and sometimes she wonders if I love him more than I love her. (And not even as a joke. I think she’s legitimately concerned.) But if I was given the choice of having Jimmy Garoppolo as my team’s quarterback for the next 10 years, or clinging to the greatest quarterback of all time even though he’s almost 41 years old, I’m pretty sure my choice would be to go with the youngster, who looks like he might just be the next Tom Brady.
I feel like Benedict Arnold. I’m not even sure I deserve to be a Patriots fan anymore. Excuse me while I go sulk for the next four hours.