The New England Patriots are trading quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo to the San Francisco 49ers in exchange for a 2018 second-round pick, according to both ESPN’s Adam Schefter and NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport.
There have long been media reports that the Patriots wouldn’t trade Garoppolo, but it doesn’t seem that surprising that they’ve made this move.
Garoppolo is in the final year of his rookie contract, so if New England wanted to keep him, it would have had to either franchise tag him (the quarterback tag for 2017 was $21.28 million, so it would have been even higher than that for 2018) or sign him to a long-term contract which would have meant even more money because of guarantees.
The Patriots also could have watched Garoppolo leave in free agency. That scenario would have seen New England get a compensatory draft pick, but not until 2019, and it wouldn’t have been any higher than a third rounder.
In the first two situations, Garoppolo would have been making far more money than Tom Brady while very likely remaining his backup. And had that happened, Garoppolo would be wasting another season of his career, since Brady, despite being 40 years old, does not seem to be on the decline. Now he gets the chance to lead a team and show whether the two-game promise he showed last year was a fluke or a glimpse of what he’s capable of.
The 49ers are currently winless, so the chances are high that the second-round pick they’re sending to the Patriots will be either the first or second of the round. They’ve already benched Brian Hoyer, who started the season at quarterback, and have been starting C.J. Beathard, whom they haven’t exactly been protecting.
San Francisco cut Hoyer after finalizing the deal for Garoppolo. Hoyer began his career with the Patriots, and now that they’ve traded Garoppolo and Jacoby Brissett, have exactly one quarterback on the roster. It would be an interesting turn of events to see Hoyer back in New England.
Garoppolo was the 62nd overall pick in 2014, out of Eastern Illinois. He started the first two games of 2016 while Brady was suspended for deflate-gate, but suffered an injury when he was tackled by Miami’s Kiko Alonso.
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