NBC Sports’ Josh Schrock proposed two trades for the Patriots. The first would have the Patriots swinging a deal with the Atlanta Falcons for the No. 4 pick. Rather than taking one of the quarterbacks available (Justin Fields or Trey Lance), the Patriots pull a huge surprise in this scenario. Assuming the Jacksonville Jaguars take Trevor Lawrence, the New York Jets select Zach Wilson, the San Francisco 49ers select Mac Jones to replace Garoppolo, New England selects tight end, Kyle Pitts.
That deal would give the Patriots one of the most extraordinary tight end rooms in the league’s history with Pitts, Jonnu Smith, and Hunter Henry. That seems like an excellent setup for Cam Newton, right?
Well, Schrock is ready to deal Newton and New England’s No. 46 pick to the Niners for Garoppolo. Here is his breakdown.
The Mac Jones era in San Francisco is underway, and while Kyle Shanahan and John Lynch have said they want Garoppolo to be the guy in 2021, the Patriots give them enough to part ways with the oft-injured starter. Belichick sends the 49ers his second-round pick (No. 46 overall) and Cam Newton, giving the 49ers a veteran backup for Jones, in exchange for Garoppolo. The 49ers take the No. 46 pick and select Rondale Moore, giving Jones the shifty slot receiver the rookie will need in order to maximize his success in Year 1. The Patriots are back and it’s a new era in the Bay.
This Isn’t a Bad Plan Overall
An offense that features Pitts, Smith, Henry, Nelson Agholor, Kendrick Bourne, James White, and the Patriots’ revamped offensive line could be excellent. New England could still search for a field-stretching slot receiver like Western Michigan’s D’Wayne Eskridge in the third round.
Garoppolo’s game-management skills would be in the right situation with that supporting cast and with offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels dialing up the plays.
Still, there are a couple of issues to consider.
There Are 2 Problems With This Scenario
First, Garoppolo is massively overrated.
He’s never been able to stay healthy throughout his NFL career. Coming off a particularly ragged 2020 that saw him miss 10 games, and at 29 years old, there is little reason to believe he’ll suddenly become a sturdy guy under center.
Even when Garoppolo is healthy, he’s never been spectacular. The best season of his career was in 2019 when the Niners went to the Super Bowl.
That season, the Niners leaned heavily on their run game and defense. Garoppolo passed for less than 4,000 yards with 27 TDs and 13 interceptions. That’s a decent but not mind-blowing season.
When that’s the crown jewel of a pocket-passing quarterback’s career, and the rest of his four seasons as a starter have seen him miss at least ten games, it’s hard to grasp why so many people seem to see Garoppolo as a top-flight choice still.
While this is an unpopular take in some circles, Newton is an overall more effective player and presence on a football team. No one will outwork Newton. He’s an outstanding leader, which has been confirmed by his teammates and coaches in New England.
Newton also proved last season that he’d worked past his two injury-plagued seasons. He missed one game because he tested positive for COVID-19.
While he didn’t have a great season as a passer in 2020 (2,657 passing yards, eight TD passes and ten interceptions), Newton ran for 12 touchdowns, and managed to lead the Patriots to a 7-8 record despite a poor set of weapons in the passing game and an injury-riddled offensive line.
As we head into his second season with the Patriots, Newton’s upside for 2021 could have people wondering why the Patriots are supposedly looking for their quarterback of the future when they have an effective one who is still just 32 years old.
To put it plainly, Newton is better than Garoppolo, so this isn’t an upgrade.
Secondly, trading Newton to the Niners to be a backup to a rookie like Jones would be one of the most disrespectful things San Francisco and New England could do to the former league MVP.
It might push Newton into retirement or to request a release. Without the Niners being sure of how Newton would accept this deal, they might be hesitant to agree, even if they like the general idea.
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