Patriots quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo is too good to sit on the bench, right?
But that’s where the former second-round pick is after Tom Brady returned from his four-week exile to Europe. Now Brady’s revenge tour is in full swing, and the future of Garoppolo in New England is murky at best.
Here are three things that Patriots can do with the 24-year-old QB:
Trade him before the 2017 NFL Draft
Garoppolo will have one year remaining on his contract at the end of this season, and the time before the NFL Draft is a giant pile of desperation for teams looking to land quarterbacks.
Keep him until Tom Brady retires
When Brady’s body finally fails him — that moment might be coming sooner than everyone (especially Brady) thinks — the Pats are going to want to have a competent second option in place. Garoppolo might have done enough to be the heir apparent to perhaps the greatest quarterback who has ever lived.
Sell now, sell high
If you think the desperation around the NFL Draft is bad, look around the league right now. By the time the draft comes around, there will be a lot of GMs and coaches out of jobs. New guys come in with plans and contingencies and logic — the guys who are on their way out need to go all-in today if they stand any chance of being retained.
All three of the options seem plausible at the moment. Brady won’t last forever, and Brissett doesn’t look like the heir apparent right now, so the Pats might hold on to Garoppolo. Then again, Belichick never misses an opportunity to flip for profit. If the Pats wait too long, they’ll drive down the price, as Garoppolo’s salary makes a massive leap.
The best bet: Garoppolo is traded to the Bears — who retain general manager Ryan Pace for a third year but fire John Fox — before the NFL Draft for a first and second-round pick.