Why the Jimmy Garoppolo trade reports are likely true: While We’re Waiting

Happy Friday everyone. Happy to end the week with some Browns / NFL talk here at WFNY. Before we get there, I want to tell you about something.

We’ve started ramping up some of the offerings at Patreon. I had some criticism from someone who left that we didn’t engage enough and I took that criticism to heart. I didn’t know exactly what to do for our patrons, and it kept me from doing anything at all, which was wrong. So now, I’m trying to be far more active. I did a quick podcast just for Patreon supporters. I announced two upcoming podcast guests just to Patreon supporters. If they play nice, I’ll even let them ask a question. So that’s the kind of stuff you’ll get there. If you can, please support today.

Bill Belichick holds all the cards on Jimmy Garoppolo and he knows it

Did you hear this week that the Patriots aren’t “expected” to trade Jimmy Garoppolo? Adam Schefter reported that this week for ESPN. Earlier, Peter King had similar, opinionated sentiments while saying explicitly that he had not spoken to Bill Belichick about it. These two guys are as plugged into the NFL as anyone in the game. I don’t think either one of them is lying or explicitly getting played, because these guys are generally too good to get played badly. Simultaneously I have zero belief that the Patriots lack a desire to trade Jimmy Garoppolo. So, what gives?

I think Jimmy Garoppolo is a new kind of player for Bill Belichick. The Pats have traded quarterbacks previously. They traded Ryan Mallett to the Texans for a conditional pick, which ended up being basically nothing in the 2016 NFL draft. Prior to that, the Pats traded Matt Cassell and Mike Vrabel for the 34th overall pick from the Kansas City Chiefs. That’s a unique trade, however, because the Pats had to franchise Cassel to keep him from hitting free agency first. When they traded him with a franchise tag in place, it probably cost them some of their leverage. All that leverage is in place with Jimmy Garoppolo.

Garoppolo has one more season at just over $1 million on his deal. He’s also playing behind a soon-to-be 40-year-old quarterback. When Cassel was traded, Tom Brady was coming off of a bad knee injury, but he was firmly in his early thirties. The Patriots are in really healthy cap shape with almost $60 million in available space, according to Spotrac. Back when they franchised Matt Cassel, the team had Brady, Randy Moss, and many more players making big money. They were flirting with the cap number of $127 million and things were stretched to the limit. That helps put the Cassel trade into perspective.

I still think the Patriots want to trade Jimmy Garoppolo. I just don’t think they will unless they get a serious offer. If not, why wouldn’t they just do this all again next year and take advantage of a spot-starter level QB (at least) for the low low cost of just over $1 million? They’re not chasing anyone as reigning Super Bowl champions. Unless they get a decent first round pick, there’s little chance that whomever is drafted in exchange for Garoppolo has a chance to make the Pats marginally better. Sure, Garoppolo can’t play at the same time as Tom Brady, but if for any reason Brady misses time, you can’t short change the chance to keep an undeniably championship-level team afloat until he makes it back.

So Bill Belichick gets to have his cake and eat it too in this case. Tell the world – nearly honestly – that you don’t “expect” to trade Jimmy Garoppolo. Let the world look at the questionable draft class of quarterbacks and watch all the QB-needy teams start to gain interest as the combine, workouts, and interviews help build Jimmy Garoppolo’s trade value some more. If nothing develops, there’s no downside to keeping Jimmy G for one more year.

That’s mostly it from me this week. Hope to see some of you on Saturday at the Los Campesinos! show at the Grog Shop. Should be a great night of rock music.