In 2017, the New England Patriots traded quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo to the San Fransisco 49ers. Now, Garoppolo and the Niners are in the Super Bowl.
The Patriots drafted Garoppolo in the second round with the 62nd pick in the 2014 NFL draft. Garoppolo sat behind Tom Brady for three and a half seasons before he was ultimately traded to the 49ers for a second-round pick in 2017.
Now, a bit over two years later, Garoppolo and the 49ers will face the Kansas City Chiefs in Super Bowl 54. Since then, the question being asked by fans and pundits is this: Should the Patriots regret trading Garoppolo?
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The value the Patriots got in return is a big part of the reason why this discussion is being had. It’s incredibly unfortunate that they didn’t get more out of dealing Garoppolo.
The pick the team received in the deal started a chain reaction of trade-backs that resulted in a bunch of players who have done nothing of note for them.
That has always been the issue with the trade and to this day it still should be emphasized how colossally errant it was on the part of Bill Belichick to not maximize the return on his asset. Regardless, it’s hard to fault the team for moving on and sticking with Brady although Belichick and Robert Kraft seemed to be divided on it.
The reality is, the Patriots had to choose between Brady and Garoppolo seeing as Garoppolo was set to become a free agent after 2017. Garoppolo showed serious potential when he started the first two games of the 2016 season while Brady served a four-game suspension thanks to Mother Nature’s interference with footballs.
Jimmy Garoppolo showed enough promise before getting injured in Week 2 of that season to have multiple teams interested in acquiring him.
After the Patriots traded Garoppolo prior to the trade deadline in 2017, they proceeded to make the Super Bowl both in that season and the 2018 season, losing the former but winning the latter. The 2018 season probably doesn’t go the same way if the Patriots hold on to Garoppolo instead of Brady.
That’s not to say Garoppolo isn’t a good quarterback. Rather, it’s the fact that the 2018 Patriots weren’t nearly as loaded as the 2019 49ers are. It’s hard to say whether or not they’d have seen the same success with an inexperienced Garoppolo in place of Brady, the greatest to ever play the position.
Garoppolo is set up incredibly well with the 49ers, more so than Brady was with the Patriots in 2019. He’s only had to throw 27 passes total in the two playoff games San Fransisco has played.
That’s not necessarily an indictment on him since they really didn’t need to throw the ball much given their dominance over their respective opponents, but it doesn’t scream “the Patriots should regret trading this guy.”
This wouldn’t even be a debate if Tom Brady’s future with the team wasn’t in doubt. However, since he may potentially play for another team the Patriots might need to find a successor.
They arguably would have had one in Garoppolo had they kept him. That being said, given the circumstances of the events following the trade it’s fair to say that trading Jimmy G was the right idea.
If Jimmy Garoppolo balls out on February 2nd and the 49ers defeat the Chiefs, perhaps it’d be fair to revisit this topic. However, unless that happens the New England Patriots should not have an inkling of regret about trading Jimmy G aside from the lack of impactful value in return.