Don’t worry, New England Patriots fans: You might not be the only ones who wish the franchise hadn’t traded Jimmy Garopplo.
The 26-year-old served as Tom Brady’s backup for two-plus seasons in New England before a confluence of factors resulted in him being dealt to the San Francisco 49ers last October. Garoppolo responded by going 5-0 as a starter with the Niners, much to the chagrin of Patriots fans who wanted the Patriots to hold on to their quarterback of the future.
So, would the Patriots take a do-over if they could? ESPN’s Adam Schefter, for one, believes there are some at Gillette Stadium who are kicking themselves.
“I’m sure there is some (regret),” Schefter said during a recent appearance on Adrian Wojnarowski’s podcast. “Jimmy Garoppolo is going to be a top quarterback in this league for the next decade or so. You don’t want to let a guy like that go when Tom Brady is at the tail end of his career. In a perfect world you get to hold on to both guys and when Brady decides to walk away, Garoppolo is ready to step in and assume the throne.
“But, it didn’t work out like that for a variety of reasons — Jimmy’s contract was coming up, Tom is not ready to quit playing just yet, and people say that timing in life is a lot, and in this particular case it was. Because if Tom had decided a year ago that I am done, maybe they would have been able keep Garoppolo, sign him to a long-term extension. If his contract weren’t coming up at that point, maybe they could have held on to him for another year without losing him.”
Ultimately, Schefter believes the Patriots left themselves no choice.
“But, for whatever reason there was a 180 within the organization going from where they weren’t going to deal him, and were determined they weren’t going to deal him, to all of a sudden rushing to trade him right before the trade deadline last year on Halloween. It happened very quickly, very suddenly and yeah, I think there are people that definitely would not want him traded, but that was the circumstance and situation that they were in at that point in time.”
In a perfect world, the Patriots likely would’ve rode Brady as long as they could have until he retired and then handed the keys to Garoppolo. But Garoppolo was too good not to start, and Brady was showing no signs of slowing down, putting the franchise in an unenviable position.
Will dealing Garoppolo cost Bill Belichick and Robert Kraft in the long run? Probably, but only time will tell.
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