Two decades ago, the New York Jets involuntarily set up the New England Patriots with a franchise head coach.
Could they do the same at quarterback 20 years later?
The Jets figure to be a major player in the NFL’s offseason carousel, and it’s possible Gang Green sets off dominoes that land Jimmy Garoppolo back with New England, answering the lingering question about who can be a long-term replacement for Tom Brady as Patriots QB.
Sports Illustrated’s Albert Breer wrote Monday morning at least eight teams have called the Jets about their quarterback, Sam Darnold. One of those teams, per Breer, is the San Francisco 49ers.
“As for teams to watch, three in particular are interesting to me: Chicago, San Francisco and Washington,” Breer wrote. ” ? San Francisco would be even more fascinating. Darnold’s a strong fit for Kyle Shanahan’s offense, and trading for him would make the Niners six years younger, and $20 million cheaper at the position in 2020. The Niners like Jimmy Garoppolo, as we’ve said here, and won’t move him off without a clear upgrade. Could Darnold be that?”
That question — whether Darnold is better than Garoppolo — is one to answer at another time. But a Jets-49ers trade certainly would make sense, and not just for the reasons laid out by Breer.
Don’t forget: The Jets might as well be 49ers East now, after New York hired former 49ers defensive coordinator Robert Saleh as head coach. Saleh brought with him Mike LaFleur as his offensive coordinator. To say there’s familiarity between the Niners and Jets would be a massive understatement; could that lead to a relatively easy bartering process?
Of course, just the Jets trading Darnold doesn’t guarantee Garoppolo returns to Foxboro. However, the Patriots have a ton of cap room to play with this offseason, and you have to believe they’d be motivated to get a deal done.
According to at least one report, getting back Garoppolo is “Plan A” for the Patriots as it pertains the quarterback situation.