Jimmy Garoppollo is now in his third full NFL season. He has played just about two full games in those three years. Earlier this season, he had an opportunity to play and he did very well by leading the Patriots to wins over the Cardinals and Dolphins before a shoulder injury sidelined him. We know the story. Tom Brady returned and Jimmy G returned to his annual spot as the backup QB. Playing behind Brady, the only way he’s had a chance to showcase his skills has been during Brady’s four game suspension. Brady’s durability has been a huge plus for the Patriots, but for Garoppollo, it has just meant more time waiting to get his chance.
Garoppollo knows the deal. He’s signed for his fourth season with the Patriots next year. He’s well past the learning from Tom Brady stage. He’s ready and he knows it. As long as Brady is around, he’s going to be the backup unless there’s an injury or a sharp decline in Brady’s play. Is he going to want to sit on the bench another year? He’s watching Dak Prescott and Carson Wentz get opportunities in their first season. He’s watching Marcus Mariota, James Winston, Blake Bortles, Cody Kessler, Derek Carr, and Brock Osweiler all got opportunities that he isn’t getting. Many of these quarterbacks are thriving while others clearly aren’t as good as Garoppollo. Jimmy G is now 25 years old. Is he going to be willing to sit and watch next year for a fourth season when he knows he can be an NFL starter?
Let’s take a look at Bill Belichick’s recent comments regarding Garoppollo. Belichick was asked a question about Brady’s ability to take hits. After answering the question, he then proceeded to make this statement:
“Certainly we have a good quarterback in Jimmy and Jimmy can go out there and run everything that Tom can run. We’ve seen that, so I’m not saying that he’s not capable or qualified to do it. He is, and he does a great job of it and when we put Jimmy in there it’s really seamless. Unless you are actually looking at the position, if you could just block out that position and say which guy was in there at quarterback, I don’t know if you would know a lot of times.”
Wait… What?! When the Patriots put Jimmy Garoppollo in it’s “seamless”? We wouldn’t see a difference between Tom Brady and Jimmy Garoppollo?
What does this mean?
Well, it could mean any of three things.
1. It could just be another way of Belichick motivating Brady. As if he needs it, right? But, Belichick also did the same thing when they drafted Garoppollo as he talked about the need to address the QB position. Brady responded by having a Super Bowl season.
2. Belichick is looking to pump up Garoppollo as trade bait. It’s likely that the Patriots could get a first round pick for Garoppollo. Is Belichick willing to sacrifice a potential 10-year run with Garoppollo? Tom Brady is going to be 40 years old prior to the start of the 2017 season.
3. He really means it. He watches Garoppollo every day and sees greatness in him just as he saw it in Brady fifteen years ago. And if he really does mean it, are you keeping the 25-year old quarterback or the 40-year old quarterback?
Time will tell how this all plays out. With that said, it’s very unlikely that Jimmy Garoppollo is going to be the backup quarterback for the Patriots next year. He’s ready to play and he knows it.
Jimmy G knows it’s his time. Whether it happens on the Patriots or not is the only question.