The Patriots' 2017 offseason will provide no shortage of entertainment and intrigue. With several marquee free agents to sign and roughly $65 million in cap space (including a highly likely Amendola cut), the 2017 Patriots could feature quite a few new faces. But even among the free agency questions and absurd Gronkowski trade theories rests perhaps the biggest question: What will the Patriots do with Jimmy Garoppolo?
The 25-year-old Illinois native was simply phenomenal as the Patriots starter, until a shoulder injury derailed his brief tenure as the team's QB1. His trade value, already a rising commodity, skyrocketed. There's even a legitimate argument that he is THE most talented quarterback available in the offseason, including trade options, free agents and college arms like Deshaun Watson and Mitch Trubisky.
And everyone is taking notice.
Cleveland.com's Mary Kay Cabot addressed a fan-proposed Garoppolo acquisition in her "Hey, Mary Kay!" fan mailbag piece last Sunday, "if the Patriots would part with Garoppolo." Oddly enough, the proposal still had the Browns drafting Trubisky, and going into their 2017 season with Garoppolo, Trubisky, and promising rookie Cody Kessler as their quarterbacks.
Now, Cleveland can destroy THREE promising quarterbacks instead of one!
All jokes aside (was that really a joke though?), the Browns do have two first round selections in the upcoming draft, with the other selection coming via Philadelphia from the Carson Wentz trade. Right now, that selection sits at No. 13 overall—and that could be enough to convince Belichick to deal his promising backup.
It's tough to imagine a team being able to provide better draft pick compensation than the Browns for an equally sought-after player, but the Bears can do just that. Garoppolo is, in a phrase, perfect for them. He's a lifelong Bears fan, still a few years away from his prime, and has valuable experience (on the field, in the Patriots system, and technically even in the Super Bowl). A rebuilding team like Chicago needs someone like him.
With that in mind, let's take a look at some trade proposals:
Patriots receive: Eagles 2017 1st round selection via Cleveland (No. 13 overall), 2018 3rd round selection
Browns receive: QB Jimmy Garoppolo
This would be a great deal for both sides. It would be interesting to include Josh Gordon in the deal, but as a restricted free agent in the offseason, his situation is too complex to be incorporated into this trade. Cabot noted how much Browns offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan loved Garoppolo coming out of college, and this is his chance to coach the Eastern Illinois product.
Patriots receive: Bears 2017 1st round selection (No. 3/4 overall), 2018 3rd round selection
Bears receive: QB Jimmy Garoppolo, OG Tre' Jackson
I'm not sold on a Garoppolo trade under any circumstances. However, if I had to decide between these two options, the Bears trade is by far the better option. Currently tied with the Jaguars, this pick right now would be either 3rd or 4th overall. That puts New England in position for any of your favorite prospects.
Jonathan Allen becoming the next Aaron Donald. Myles Garrett coming off the edge. Jabrill Peppers subject to the positional creativity of Belichick. Leonard Fournette carving up defenses week after week. Hell, even Deshaun Watson or Mitch Trubisky if Belichick is looking for a true Brady replacement.
ANY of those guys can be Patriots...if the Patriots want to trade Garoppolo.
By Will Brabrook