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The Patriots Still Want Jimmy Garoppolo Back

Liam McKeone
Jimmy Garoppolo
Jimmy Garoppolo / Jim Rogash/Getty Images
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After the San Francisco 49ers traded up to the No. 3 pick in the draft in order to have their preference of the quarterbacks who will still be available at that time, Jimmy Garoppolo's status with the organization changed to very much in question. Adam Schefter reported on the day of the trade that the Niners aren't looking to trade Garoppolo, reinforced by Kyle Shanahan's comments on Monday that he would like to have a veteran quarterback in front of any potential incoming rookie.

None of that changes the fact that if San Francisco goes quarterback with their first pick as expected, Garoppolo is on the trade block, officially or otherwise. It's an inefficient use of resources to keep him and his $26 million salary on the roster for more than one more season, and he's under contract through 2023. They won't give him away for nothing, of course, but it shouldn't take too big of an offer to pry him away.

The most likely culprit in that scenario would be the team that drafted Garoppolo, the New England Patriots. They are still without a reliable succession plan following Tom Brady's exit south. The team re-signed Cam Newton despite his atrocious 2020 and used their sizable free agent fund to sign a variety of players who complement Newton and the team's planned ground-and-pound playstyle for 2021. Newton is only on a one-year deal, though, and Bill Belichick liked Garoppolo enough to draft him as the planned heir apparent to Brady.

I wrote a few weeks ago that it felt unlikely they would go after Garoppolo anytime in the next few months for a variety of factors. Things have obviously changed a bit with the Niners jumping the draft line to draft his successor immediately. Then Dianna Russini went on Get Up this morning to report the Patriots still have "considerable interest" in their former second-round pick (per Bleacher Report):

"I've talked to a bunch of people in the league about this, and enough people I trust have told me that the Patriots' interest in Jimmy Garoppolo has been consistent. This has got to be more San Francisco willing to make the deal and, of course, New England having the right amount of picks and money to get Jimmy to bring him back. And that's really what it's going to come down to."

Even if a Garoppolo-for-Newton trade probably isn't in the cards (to the chagrin of Stephen A. Smith), the report lines up. Garoppolo is a top-15 QB at worst and top-10 at best when he's healthy. He's also 29-years-old, so if his body holds up he should have more than a few good years ahead of him. New England isn't positioned to find a top-tier QB prospect fall into their lap in this year's draft and probably will not be anytime soon, given the floor for a Belichick team is much higher than every other franchise in the NFL.

Then again, the Patriots and every other team in the NFL are notoriously interested in acquiring good players for the right price. And the Niners are in no rush. My bet is that we won't see any movement on this front unless the Patriots are willing to pony up a second-rounder on draft night, which isn't really Belichick's style. So we wait.

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