Before Super Bowl 51, a rumor quietly surfaced that, according to NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport, the New England Patriots expect Tom Brady to play another 3-5 years and a contract extension would be done by next offseason. Brady's current contract expires after the 2019 season. While this is no surprise to those that watch Brady and his work ethic on a daily basis, many are amazed that the 39-year-old quarterback will almost certainly end his career in New England at, roughly, 45 years old.
The bigger storyline, especially this offseason, is the current status of Jimmy Garoppolo. Aside from MAYBE Kirk Cousins, if he is available, Garoppolo is the most sought after available quarterback in the NFL right now. Reportedly, the San Francisco 49ers, Chicago Bears, and Cleveland Browns are expected to make a run at the 25-year-old former Eastern Illinois quarterback. Newly crowned 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan is reportedly infatuated with Garoppolo and is expected to make a serious run at him if they cannot pry away Kirk Cousins from the Washington Redskins.
While I would love to think the Patriots could get a top-five draft pick for Garoppolo's services, it is unrealistic. I could see the Patriots get a mid-first round pick and perhaps a later pick, a fourth or a fifth, but expecting one of the first picks in this year's draft is a lot.
Fortunately for the Patriots, they hold all of the cards and can do whatever they want. If they want to hang on to Garoppolo for this final season, then place the franchise tag on him, like they did with Matt Cassel all those years ago, they could still get some type of return on him.
Ideally, I would love to see the Patriots get a high draft pick and get a guy to come off of the edge to try and replace what Chandler Jones gave you. If there is a serious flaw in this team as it is currently constituted, aside from a few key guys, the Patriots had an extremely difficult time generating pressure on the quarterback.
Regardless of what happens, this will be an extremely interesting storyline to watch!