FOXBORO, Mass. — The New England Patriots, fresh off a Super Bowl LI victory, made a series of big moves this offseason, but it was their backup quarterback who dominated the headlines over the summer.
Jimmy Garoppolo made a name for himself in New England’s first two games of the 2016 campaign while serving as the team’s starting QB amid Tom Brady’s four-game suspension. Garoppolo led the Pats to an impressive Week 1 win in Arizona over the Cardinals and dazzled against the Miami Dolphins in Week 2 before injuring his shoulder. But six quarters were enough for the football world to speculate about Garoppolo’s future in New England.
Many believed the Patriots would sell high on Garoppolo, and the Cleveland Browns reportedly were interested in working out a deal for the 25-year-old. But despite all the chatter, Jimmy G remains with the Patriots and will serve as the team’s backup behind Brady in the 2017 season.
In an interview with 98.5 The Sports Hub, Patriots president Jonathan Kraft explained Garoppolo’s value to the team, and why it wasn’t in their best interest to trade him away.
“Jimmy has been a part of this team for the past few years,” Kraft said. “I think it’s very rare to have somebody that is an important part of your team that you trade, unless you have cap issues or other issues that you’re facing. I think I’ll just leave it at that. People talk about and speculate about all types of things, we talk about what happens. Jimmy has been on our roster the past three years, and he’s going to be on our roster this year and that’s the way it is.”
Kraft also acknowledged that Brady’s position as the team’s starting signal-caller is, of course, cemented, but added that having Garoppolo waiting in the wings provides a quality security blanket.
“I get it and we’re lucky because it’s very clear that Tom Brady is our quarterback,” he said. “Tom Brady is the best quarterback in the National Football League now, and of all time. So there’s no discussion there. But Jimmy Garoppolo is a very good quarterback, and when you have a very good player at a critical position, you’re playing for this season. You’re playing for this year, and you want to give your team the best chance possible of winning. We believe Jimmy is the right person to back up Tom Brady.”
It’s safe to say the Patriots are very comfortable with their quarterback situation heading into the upcoming season.
Thumbnail photo via David Butler II/USA TODAY Sports Images