Although Patriots quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo was popular in trade rumors earlier in the offseason, the reigning Super Bowl champions never considered dealing Tom Brady‘s backup, ESPN’s Adam Schefter told Bleacher Report’s “Stick to Football” Podcast (via Ryan Hannable of WEEI). The Browns were the most aggressive suitors for Garoppolo, even inquiring about him during the first round of the draft, but he’s primed to remain in New England for at least one more season.
As a contract-year player, the Patriots could risk losing Garoppolo to free agency next March and potentially receiving only a compensatory third-round pick in return – significantly less than they would have gotten had they traded him this offseason, perhaps. But Schefter expects the Patriots to find a way to keep Garoppolo past next season, noting that they’re “big believers” in the 25-year-old and consider him the heir to Brady, who’s entering his age-40 campaign. Brady remains the best quarterback in the NFL despite his age, and there’s no indication that he’s going away anytime soon, though Schefter cautions that “Father Time usually wins that battle.”
In the event Brady’s excellence continues in 2017, that should make it more difficult for the Pats to extend Garoppolo, who would likely land a massive contract and a guaranteed starting job if he were to reach free agency next March. As such, the Patriots might have to place the franchise tag on Garoppolo to retain him, which will cost in the neighborhood of $22MM in 2018. Otherwise, if keeping Garoppolo as a franchise player would be too pricey, New England could tag and trade him – as it did with former Brady backup Matt Cassel in 2009.
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