Entering this past offseason, the question among Patriots fans was not will Jimmy Garoppolo be traded, but when? After a heroic comeback against the Atlanta Falcons in Super Bowl 51, it looked like Tom Brady had plenty of gas left in the tank.
With Brady still performing at a high level, why not trade in trade chip backup quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo for a first rounder and continue to build the team with young, cheap talent?
The Patriots opted otherwise, and chose to keep Jimmy Garoppolo, rather than trade him for what was reported the 12th overall selection in the 2017 NFL Draft from the Cleveland Browns, among other offers.
With Garoppolo still on the roster, it makes the future at Gillette Stadium murky. Garoppolo only has one more year on his rookie contract, while Brady turns 40 years old in less than a month.
It would be wildly unlike Belichick if he allows Garoppolo to leave in free agency, with nothing to show other than a 2019 compensatory pick.
The hard truth remains: it is highly unlikely that both Tom Brady and Jimmy Garoppolo are both on the Patriots roster during the 2018 season.
The only way Garoppolo is still on the Patriots roster next year is if the Patriots decide to franchise tag him, a highly unlikely solution considering the Patriots would be paying a backup quarterback upwards of $22 million.
So, what gives? Bill Belichick could possibly be wary of allowing Brady’s successor to leave too early. After all, Brady is going to be 40 years old when the season starts.
Although I firmly believe Brady will still perform at a high level for at least two more years, it would not surprise me if he shows signs of a 40 year old man.
Last year, Brady’s postseason run was not pretty. His performance against the Houston Texans was abysmal and concerning, to say the least.
The Texans were able to get pressure up the middle, while also pressing the Patriots wideouts in order to give more time to the pass rush, and disrupt the Patriots short and intermediate routes.
Brady completed 18 of 38 passes in that game, for 287 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions, and a passer rating of 68.6. He looked his age in that game.
During the first half of the Super Bowl against the Atlanta Falcons, Brady (and the whole offense) looked two steps slow against the aggressive Falcons defense.
Brady looked jittery, and allowed the early pressure and momentum to get to him, as he gave up a pick six on a poor throw over the middle.
Now, this article is not meant to rip Brady, or start a trade Brady campaign. It’s to offer a different perspective on Brady’s play, one that Belichick is surely considering. Or else, Belichick would have traded Garoppolo this past offseason.
This year, the Patriots are, by far, the favorites to win Super Bowl 52. Belichick has constructed one of the most talented and deepest rosters in recent memory.
Next year however, is the year that one of his most important decisions must be made.
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