The New England Patriots shocked the world Monday night when they dealt quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo to the San Francisco 49ers for a second-round pick.
It’s not quite the value Patriots fans thought their team could receive in a trade for Garoppolo, but that’s still a valuable selection. The 49ers are terrible, and Garoppolo can only help them so much. The 49ers undoubtedly will be selecting high in the second round of the 2018 draft, and that pick could fall at No. 33 or 34 overall, which essentially is the same as selecting at the bottom of the first round without the added incentive of a fifth-year bonus.
CBSSports.com’s Jason LaCanfora threw a bunch of trade scenarios at the ol’ Twitter wall after the trade went down. Among them:
It would make logical sense for Patriots head honcho Bill Belichick to in turn deal that draft pick. If trading for Brandin Cooks, signing Stephon Gilmore and not trading Malcolm Butler over the offseason didn’t confirm the Patriots are going all-in, then sticking with a 40-year-old quarterback over Garoppolo should have Sunday.
There’s certainly value in bringing aboard a young player with a second-round pick next spring, but if they could swing a deal for a pass rusher, receiver or linebacker now, helping the 2017 team and beyond, then that would be ideal.
Trading for a run-stuffer would be an odd choice, however. Malcom Brown is banged up with an ankle injury right now, but he’s been among the best run-stopping defensive tackles in the NFL this season. Lawrence Guy, who they picked up in free agency, isn’t too far behind him. Alan Branch has been playing better since getting benched in Week 5, and the Patriots could elect to activate Vincent Valentine, who played well as a rookie in 2016, off of injured reserve.
It’s tough to find the perfect player that would be available, worth a second-round pick and fit under the Patriots’ salary cap restraints. It would have to be a high-performing player at a position of need who still is on his rookie contract on a team that isn’t going to compete anytime soon.
There’s still some logic in trading Butler if the deal is right, as well. The Patriots have proven over the last three weeks they can win with Johnson Bademosi as a starting cornerback. Bademosi has been starting opposite Butler, but swap Gilmore in there, and the results could be the same. The Patriots have given up just 37 points with Bademosi as a starter.
Butler is a free agent after the season, and if the Patriots don’t believe he’ll be back in 2018, then maybe adding a player who would be is in their best interest.
It will be fascinating to see how the Patriots handle the actual trade deadline Tuesday. They acquired four players at the end of training camp in Bademosi, pass rusher Cassius Marsh, linebacker Marquis Flowers and wide receiver Phillip Dorsett, and it took them a while to get acclimated. The Patriots already are one of the NFL’s best teams, but the right trade could push them over the edge.
Trading Garoppolo on Monday night certainly gave them more capital to make a move. With Trader Bill at the helm, anything is possible.
Thumbnail photo via Bob DeChiara/USA TODAY Sports Images