Jimmy Garoppolo is a great quarterback, and, hopefully, he will be hoisting the Lombardi Trophy in two weeks. However, the New England Patriots still made the right decision trading him two years ago.
Going into the 2017 season, there were a ton of questions about what the Patriots would do at the quarterback position. Tom Brady had just engineered the greatest comeback in Super Bowl history, while Jimmy Garoppolo had started off the season as the starter when Brady was suspended and played well before getting hurt. His contract was also expiring, so the Patriots were being pushed into a decision. The fact was that they simply could not afford to keep both Brady and Garoppolo, so they would have to move on from one of them.
Rumors swirled about the Patriots making some sort of draft day trade, but that didn’t happen, as the only QB traded in the offseason was Jacoby Brissett to the Indianapolis Colts for wide receiver Phillip Dorsett. The Patriots therefore headed into the season with both Brady and Garoppolo. After eight weeks, they ultimately did decide to trade Garoppolo: to the San Francisco 49ers, who were 0-8 at the time, assuming they would get a very high second round pick back.
The Niners ended up finishing the season going 6-2 with their newly acquired quarterback at the helm, pushing the pick back a few spots further than expected. What it also did was bring up questions about whether or not the Patriots made the right decision to move on from their former second-round investment.
While Garoppolo was leading the Niners to a respectable finish in 2017, Brady was putting the finishing touches on an MVP season. He then led the Patriots to the Super Bowl, where he would throw for an NFL record 505 yards. Of course, New England would lose that game, but, fear not, Brady would lead them back to the Super Bowl the following season, winning his sixth Super Bowl on another late touchdown drive.
Meanwhile, Garoppolo would tear his ACL in 2018, and the Niners would fall off the deep end, allowing them to get the second overall pick and draft arguably their most important defensive player, Nick Bosa.
What this comes down to is that Tom Brady has still been one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL since Jimmy Garoppolo was traded. The fact is that Brady has earned the right to walk away under his own terms, and, as long as he continues to be a good player, hopefully he will spend the rest of his career with the Patriots. Regardless of what Garoppolo could have been for the Patriots, they made two consecutive Super Bowls after the trade.
So, the 49ers might still be playing this season and competing for the Super Bowl, while the Patriots are sitting at home, but the organization still made the right call trading Jimmy G. Now, if they had to make that decision this offseason, well, it would be a very different conversation...
Pat is a host of The Patriot Nation Podcast
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