The New England Patriots took home their fifth Super Bowl ring this past year, and as the offseason moves along, they now face several big decisions. They have plenty of current free agents to consider, including whether or not to use the franchise tag on linebacker Dont’a Hightower. However, they also have to figure out what to do with quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo.
The Patriots spent a second round pick on Garoppolo back in 2014, looking to find a competent backup option for Tom Brady. Through his first two seasons, Garoppolo had passing attempts in three games, and in appearing in six other games to take a knee.
However, this season, Garoppolo got some real playing time. Brady was suspended the first four games, and the plan was for Garoppolo to start in his place. Garoppolo started the first two games, both Patriots wins, completing 42 of 59 passes for 496 yards and four touchdowns. However, in the second game, Garoppolo suffered a sprained AC joint that cost him the next two games. Brady returned in Week 5, and that was the end of his starting opportunities this past season.
Garoppolo is entering the final year of his contract, with Tom Brady playing as well as he ever has. Bill Walsh talked about the need to move on from a player a year too early rather than a year too late. Brady is signed through 2019, and has shown no hints of slowing down. He recently spoke with MMQB editor Peter King and said he hopes to keep playing for several more years.
“I’d like to play until my mid-40s,” he told me. “Then I’ll make a decision. If I’m still feeling like I’m feeling today, who knows? Now, those things can always change. You do need long-term goals too. I know next year is not going to be my last year.”
What are the Patriots options?
The Patriots have several options at their disposal with regard to Garoppolo between now and 2018 free agency:
- Trade Garoppolo this year
- Keep him on the roster, let him walk next year in free agency, get a 2019 compensatory pick
- Keep him on the roster, use the franchise tag on him next year to buy more time and then either play out the year or trade him
If I were to rank the three options, they would be in that order. The Patriots are looking at plenty of cap room in 2018, but the franchise tag seems highly unlikely. On the other hand, trading him now vs. getting a comp pick in 2019 is mildly intriguing. They could get no more than a third for him in the comp system, whereas a trade could net them a second or first, or multiple picks.
One option that is not discussed as much is potentially waiting to trade him later in the summer or into training camp. I would think a team would want Garoppolo in camp for OTAs and minicamp to get a handle on a new offense, but if the Patriots really want to leverage this, maybe they try and do that.
What do the odds tell us?
Gambling odds are not going to be perfect predictors, but the context of futures bets can be worth a look. Oddsmakers are tracking all the information out there, whether it be the usual public reports, or any inside information they might have access to.
The folks at Odds Shark posted some odds on where Garoppolo will wind up in 2017. The Browns and Bears are favored, just ahead of the 49ers. The Houston Texans are an intriguing sleeper option given how poorly things have gone with Brock Osweiler, but they are in a tough position with Osweiler’s remaining guaranteed money.
Cleveland Browns +200
Chicago Bears +200
San Francisco 49ers +300
New England Patriots +500
New Orleans Saints +1600
Houston Texans +2500
New York Jets +2500
Denver Broncos +3300
So where does Garoppolo end up in 2017? Poll time!