Was it two first-round draft picks? Was it a single No. 1 pick? Was it a first- or second-round pick, with a couple of late-round picks thrown in as sweeteners?
The exact price the New England Patriots reportedly were seeking in a trade of quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo varied depending on the report over the last year or so, but one thing was always the same: The price tag was high. At one point, it was even reported the Pats would only part with the fourth-year signal-caller for the first overall pick.
Those figures appeared to be overstated Monday, when the Patriots shipped Garoppolo to the San Francisco 49ers for a single second-round pick. And while the Niners pick is still likely to be pretty sweet — probably in the mid-30s overall — it’s a sobering reminder that, in the end, Garoppolo was still a largely unproven backup quarterback with all of six quarters of game film to evaluate.
“In the end, the Patriots waited until just about the last second and took the best available offer on the table,” ESPN.com’s Bill Barnwell noted Monday night. “If you treat the offers that might have been available six months ago as sunk costs and evaluate what the Patriots could have done with Garoppolo from this point forward, this is a reasonable return. The best-case scenario would have seen the Patriots come away with a compensatory pick at the bottom of the third round of the 2019 draft, somewhere between picks 97 and 100, and that would come only if New England didn’t make another foray into high-level free agency this offseason.”
What this says about the Patriots’ bargaining or the quality of this deal is anybody’s guess. In fact, take any prediction applauding or ripping this deal for either side with a football-sized grain of salt. The sample size of evidence is simply too small to declare whether Garoppolo is a future legend or a future Ryan Mallett.
One thing that can be stated, however, is that compared to some of the lofty numbers that were being thrown around a few months ago, the deal the Patriots ultimately pulled off showed that “something changed over the past six months with the Patriots,” as Barnwell notes. Maybe reality set in, or maybe this is what the Patriots were angling for and expected to get for Garoppolo all along.
Thumbnail photo via Kevin Jairaj/USA TODAY Sports Images