The Bears will make a “strong, concerted” attempt to trade for Patriots quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo, sources tell Jason La Canfora of CBSSports.com, who adds that Garoppolo is “far and away” the No. 1 priority for Chicago this offseason. Talks could occur later this month at the NFL’s scouting combine, per La Canfora, or possibly even earlier, although a deal can’t officially be finalized until early March.
General manager Ryan Pace and the rest of the Bears front office has put in “extensive” research on Garoppolo and are “very comfortable” with the Eastern Illinois alum, reports La Canfora. Chicago is fully expected to release incumbent quarterback Jay Cutler this offseason, a move that would $14MM, bringing the Bears’ total projected cap cap space to roughly $70MM. As such, Chicago should have more than enough fiscal power to negotiate a long-term extension with Garoppolo, who is only signed through the 2017 campaign.
Rival clubs don’t believe the Bears would be forced to sacrifice their first-round pick (No. 3 overall) in order to acquire Garoppolo, but a package that contains multiple second-round selections could be on the table, per La Canfora. The Patriots are reportedly open to trading Garoppolo in the coming months, and a deal could materialize early in the offseason, according to Jason Cole of Bleacher Report (video link). Given that other signal-callers such as Kirk Cousins, Tony Romo, and Cutler could potentially hit the market, New England wants to strike before it loses any amount of leverage, per Cole.
Garoppolo, 25, shined in two starts in relief of a suspended Tom Brady last season, completing 43 of 63 pass attempts for 502 yards, four touchdowns, and no interceptions. That brief run as New England’s starting quarterback represents the bulk of Garoppolo’s NFL career, however, as he’d only thrown 31 total passes in the two seasons prior.
The Bears aren’t the only club expected to target Garoppolo this offseason, as the Browns will also reportedly attempt to land the Patriots signal-caller.
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