Ex-Patriots Standout Predicts Jimmy Garoppolo Will Return To New England

Will Jimmy G be New England's QB in 2021?

by Ricky Doyle

November 6, 2020

Rob Ninkovich spent eight seasons with the Patriots, including three in which he shared a locker room with quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo.

So, it’s notable the former Patriots edge rusher believes Jimmy G will wind up back in New England — even if Ninkovich was just shooting from the hip while making the prediction Friday on ESPN’s “Get Up.”

“I think he’ll be a New England Patriot,” Ninkovich said. “And listen, when was the last time you’ve seen Bill Belichick walk up to the opposing team’s quarterback after they lost 33-6 and give him a little tap on the back and give him a handshake? I mean, I don’t think I’ve seen that from any other quarterback that’s ever beat the Patriots.”

Garoppolo, traded from New England to San Francisco on Halloween 2017, led the 49ers to a convincing victory over the Patriots in Week 7. The 29-year-old since has suffered an ankle injury that could cost him the remainder of the 2020 season while also casting uncertainty over his future with the Niners.

It’s only natural, then, to draw a straight line from Garoppolo to the Patriots, who have received subpar quarterback play from Cam Newton this season in wake of Tom Brady’s departure. Newton currently is playing on a one-year contract, so it’s unclear who will be New England’s QB in 2021 and beyond, especially with Jarrett Stidham struggling in garbage-time action.

The 49ers went to the Super Bowl last season with Garoppolo, but San Francisco’s success mostly was a product of its defensive prowess. Plus, 49ers general manager John Lynch and head coach Kyle Shanahan have been candid about considering a pursuit of Brady in free agency this past offseason, which suggests they might be OK with moving on from Garoppolo after the 2020 NFL campaign.

“So, when I think about Jimmy G with the 49ers, there’s really nothing that is gonna hurt them if they just cut him loose. He’s already made most of his money,” Ninkovich said. “So, I could see maybe Jimmy G going to the Patriots, and I know this would be a harder thing to do, but Matt Ryan? Matt Ryan, maybe, huh, to the 49ers, back with Kyle Shanahan? I would think they have some unfinished business.”

Garoppolo spent three-plus seasons with the Patriots after being selected by New England in the second round of the 2014 NFL Draft. He clearly impressed certain members of the organization during his time as Brady’s backup, so it’ll be fascinating to see whether a reunion really is in the cards.

“The Patriots are gonna get Jimmy G,” Ninkovich declared Friday.

Stay tuned.

Thumbnail photo via Joe Nicholson/USA TODAY Sports Images
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