In an absolute stunner, the New England Patriots on Monday traded backup quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo to the San Francisco 49ers, according to a report from ESPN’s Adam Schefter. In return, they’ll receive the Niners’ second-round pick in next year’s NFL draft.
After hearing this report, two questions immediately jumped to mind: 1) If the Patriots were fine with trading Garoppolo, why didn’t they do it months ago? And 2) A second-rounder? Really? That’s all they got?
Granted, San Francisco is likely to finish near the bottom of the NFL again this season, making it very likely that draft pick will be somewhere in the No. 33-36 range. But still, all the rumors we heard this spring were that the Cleveland Browns were willing to deal a first-round pick — or maybe even two! — for Garoppolo, and the Patriots shot those offers down.
Now we’re hearing, though, that those reports were exaggerated. According to NFL Media’s Ian Rapoport, the Browns never offered a first for the 25-year-old signal-caller.
That clarification will make the trade a bit easier to stomach for Patriots fans, but it doesn’t make it any less surprising. Tom Brady, as you’ve surely heard, is 40, and he now quite literally does not have a backup after New England traded away both Jacoby Brissett and Garoppolo in a span of two months.
A familiar face could fill that spot, as Schefter reported San Francisco released quarterback Brian Hoyer after completing the trade. Hoyer, 32, was Brady’s No. 2 from 2009 to 2011, and after failing to hold the starting job for the miserable Niners, one would expect he’d be OK with taking a backup job for a Super Bowl contender.
The return from the Brissett and Garoppolo deals: wide receiver Phillip Dorsett, who has four catches for 85 yards this season, and the aforementioned draft pick.
By shipping out both of his backups, the Patriots have made it abundantly clear they do not expect Brady to retire anytime soon. There is no more “QB of the future” in Foxboro.
Garoppolo, meanwhile, has to be thrilled with this development. He’s already won two Super Bowl rings as a backup, and now he gets to take over a 49ers team that certainly won’t make the playoffs this year but has a talented young nucleus and a brilliant, offensive-minded head coach in Kyle Shanahan. After three-and-a-half seasons in Brady’s shadow, his time has come.
All told, Garoppolo appeared in 17 games for the Patriots, starting two during Brady’s Deflategate suspension in 2016. He completed 63 of 94 pass attempts for 690 yards and five touchdowns with zero interceptions. With New England keeping games closer than usual this season, he has yet to play a snap through eight weeks.
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