According to ESPN's Adam Schefter in an appearance on WEEI's Kirk and Callahan, the New England Patriots have quietly been gauging the value of backup quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo. From their work, according to Schefter, the Patriots believe a starting price in negotiations begins with a first- and fourth-round draft pick. Whether this is a massive F.U. to the league or just a coincidence, these were also the picks the Patriots were stripped of during Deflategate.
While Garoppolo has only played one full game this season after going down with an AC joint injury in week two, he is considered by many to be the next best available franchise quarterback. While the Patriots would love to keep Garoppolo as an insurance policy if Tom Brady ever slows down or retires, Bill Belichick is unlikely to pay the amount it would cost to keep him once his rookie contract is up.
Tom Brady has made it be known he would like to play until he is 45, which would mean Garoppolo is as good as gone. While some have suggested trading Tom Brady, that simply is not an option at this point. Brady is playing arguably the best football of his career and could be hunting down his fifth Super Bowl ring this season.
According to reports, members of the Patriots coaching staff would be "shocked" if Garoppolo is traded. However, Belichick is known to make head-scratching moves in order to ensure the longevity and success of the franchise. These moves include trading Chandler Jones for a second-round pick and a journeyman offensive lineman, as well as trading Jamie Collins midseason for a compensatory pick.
While some may consider the asking price coming from the Patriots too high, we have seen teams in the past pay out of their nose for quarterbacks. Most notably, the Vikings gave up a first- and a fourth-round pick for Sam Bradford, while the Rams gave up a king's ransom for an unproven rookie quarterback in Jared Goff.
Garoppolo's toughness has come into question after he did not suit up for the Patriots following the AC joint injury, which is almost entirely about pain tolerance. Nonetheless, most teams in the NFL would take a flyer on Garoppolo because this is a quarterback-driven league.
Fortunately for the Patriots, this is a great problem to have and I completely trust Bill Belichick to do what is right for the longterm success of the franchise.