ESPN’s Adam Schefter beat the “Jimmy Garoppolo is not getting traded” drum harder than any national reporter this spring, and he was right. The New England Patriots held onto their backup quarterback, turning down some reportedly lucrative offers ahead of the 2017 NFL Draft.
Garoppolo’s rookie contract expires after this season, but Schefter believes coach Bill Belichick will find a way to keep him in New England.
“Do I think Jimmy Garoppolo leaves New England? I don’t,” Schefter said Friday on WEEI’s “Kirk & Callahan.” “I think they somehow figure out a way to work it out.”
If the Patriots want to keep Garoppolo beyond this season, they have two options: They could re-sign him to a new deal or, if the sides cannot reach an agreement on terms, they could place the franchise tag on him — a fixed-rate one-year contract based on the salaries of the top five highest-paid quarterbacks in the NFL.
Garoppolo currently is in his fourth season as Tom Brady’s backup, and if Brady keeps his starting job in 2018, franchising Garoppolo would require paying a second-string QB upward of $20 million for one season. (The franchise tag for QBs this season is $21.268 million, and it will be even higher next year.)
Schefter believes the Patriots will be able to put together a contract proposal that will pay Garoppolo what he deserves.
“It’s not about taking less, it’s about coming up with the structure in a deal that works for both sides,” the ESPN insider told “K&C.” “That is what it is about. He can make his money and you make it work for both sides. Jimmy makes what he’s supposed to make, and the Patriots keep the quarterback they want to keep.”
He added: “I honestly don’t know where they are (in contract negotiations). Again, I just know how both sides have felt about each other over time. I believe that if they haven’t occurred already, that they will occur, that there will be an effort made to figure out a way to come up with a solution that we just discussed, that works for Jimmy, that works for the Patriots to make sure that you keep him there long-term.
“Let’s put it this way, do I think New England will let Jimmy Garoppolo walk away in free agency? I don’t.”
Garoppolo started two games last year during Brady’s Deflategate suspension and made garbage-time appearances in four others. He’s one of just two quarterbacks on the Patriots’ roster after the team traded Jacoby Brissett earlier this month, but he’s unlikely to see meaningful playing time unless Brady suffers an injury or struggles mightily.
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