In the 2020 season, the New England Patriots missed the playoffs as they failed to regroup from Tom Brady’s absence. Since then, the Patriots have made a slew of offseason moves in an attempt to regain their status as a perennial contender. They added desperately needed talent in Hunter Henry, Matt Judon, Nelson Agholor, along with several others.
However, their offseason may not be done. Recently, rumors have circulated that the Patriots are considering trading for San Francisco 49ers QB, Jimmy Garoppolo. The 49ers would be very receptive to moving Garoppolo, as they just traded up to the third overall pick in the NFL draft. In prime position to draft a QB, the 49ers no longer need him.
But, should the Patriots even want Jimmy Garoppolo? In this article, I will talk about the positives and negatives of bringing Jimmy G back, and what the Pats should do.
Familiarity with The Patriots
While it may sound cliché, I don’t think we can underestimate his familiarity with the Patriot way. Jimmy spent his first three seasons in New England, and the Patriots loved him so much they considered trading Tom Brady. Yes, the same Tom Brady who has seven Super Bowl Rings. I think that clearly shows just how well Garoppolo fits in that building, and the level of comfortability the Patriots have with him. His relationship with the coaching staff gives him an edge over any other quarterback that they could bring in. Even the best rookie QB’s have a tough time adjusting to the league and need time to develop. With Garoppolo, the Patriots eliminate that learning curve by bringing in a guy they can trust. When looking at alternative options, it’s easy to see why the Patriots want to bring back Jimmy Garoppolo.
As I mentioned before, the Patriots could easily do their due diligence and find a QB in the draft that they like. However, that is much more complicated than it seems. Every QB with half a brain will answer interview questions the right way. With enough coaching, anyone can make it look like they are hardworking and gritty. Because of this, drafting a QB usually gives teams more questions than answers. These teams have to spend the next few seasons figuring out what potential their QB actually has, and how they can succeed with him. This would set the Patriots back a few seasons in their quest for World Domination, which they certainly won’t like. I’m not saying teams shouldn’t draft rookie QB’s, but it is risky when the Patriots have a proven option at their disposal.
Lack of Superstar Potential
I just talked about how familiar Jimmy G is with the Patriots system, but that alone is not enough to bring him back. When looking at Garoppolo’s career numbers, nothing really stands out as remarkable. Over his career, Garoppolo has looked like a serviceable, and average QB at best.
In two starts in 2016 he had an 87.5 QBR with a 4-0 TD to interception ratio. But, his longest pass was only 37 yards in those two games. Clearly, Garoppolo was just looking for safety blankets and managing the game for the Patriots. My point being that Garoppolo is not a star QB in this league and at best is a good game manager. This is clear as he struggled to be the man in the past four seasons on the 49ers. Last year Garoppolo had 7 touchdowns and 5 picks in six starts. 2020 Jimmy G didn’t look like a guy you would want leading your team.
Earlier I talked about the dangers of drafting a QB and how it is very hard to accurately predict their skill level in the pros. While that is true, drafting a new QB this year does give the Patriots the chance to find star talent. It’s a forgone conclusion that Trevor Lawrence will be taken number one overall, and it’s increasingly more likely that Zach Wilson will be the second or third pick.
The Patriots can likely grab someone at 15, or move up a few spots and secure their guy. With the alternatives including trading for an average QB who is comfortable with your system, and rocking with an aging Cam Newton, drafting a rookie doesn’t look so bad to me.
What should the Pats Do?
I think the Patriots should turn their attention to the draft and find a guy they like. Mac Jones, Trey Lance, and Justin Fields are all first-round options the Patriots could go for. I believe in doing this they can find a guy who fits their system and give him a season to developing on the sidelines watching Cam Newton. This is the best scenario because the Patriots get a young QB with unlimited potential, and they can ease his pressure by making him a backup year one.
After seeing what happened with ultra-talented Patrick Mahomes out of college, I’m surprised other teams have not followed that model. By giving a rookie QB time to understand Josh McDaniel’s system and become comfortable, the Patriots can find and protect their future star. Plus, the Patriots can give Newton a chance to succeed after signing a few weapons and giving him a full offseason to prepare. Drafting a QB and giving him time to develop is the best thing the Patriots can do for their future.