The New England Patriots re-signed Cam Newton to be their starting quarterback in 2021, right? That’s probably still going to be the case, but one NFL insider warns those who are interested not to take a trade for former-Patriots QB Jimmy Garoppolo off the table.
On a recent episode of ESPN’s Get Up, Diana Russini told the show’s Mike Greenberg, “Just recently I was talking to somebody in the league who I really trust…He said, ‘Do not take the Jimmy Garoppolo trade off the table,'” Russini explained.
“That is something New England is still sniffing out. Bill [Belichick] doesn’t like to put his cards out on the table, so most think, ‘Oh well, if we all know about that, that probably won’t happen.’ But there is definitely a tone in the league that it could still go down.”
We’d previously heard Garoppolo was the Patriots’ No. 1 option. However, the Newton signing seemed to have resolved New England’s QB situation–despite several people still questioning the 2015 NFL MVP’s ability to lead his team’s improved offense.
Do the Patriots need Garoppolo?
Patriots Are Already Set Up for Success
During free agency, the Patriots have already addressed the offensive line by re-signing David Andrews, trading for Trent Brown, and bringing back Ted Karras. These moves should help to dull the loss of Joe Thuney.
The wide receivers and tight ends were the team’s biggest weakness in 2020. Belichick brought in Nelson Agholor, Kendrick Bourne, Jonnu Smith, and Hunter Henry to address those positions. The run defense was a problem in 2020 as well.
The Patriots stacked their defensive line by re-signing Lawrence Guy and Deatrich Wise Jr. and by adding Davon Godchaux, Harry Anderson, and Montravius Adams. The linebackers have significantly improved with the return of Dont’a Hightower and the signing of Raekwon McMillan.
Pass rush issues? Yes, that was a problem too in 2020, but Belichick inked Matthew Judon, Kyle Van Noy, and the team is also counting on the maturation of players like Chase Winovich and Josh Uche. If there is an area of concern, it’s in the secondary where the Patriots could be on the verge of trading Stephon Gilmore, and if you believe the negative press about Newton.
Still, it’s hard to imagine this Patriots roster coached by Belichick and Co. not being greatly improved from 2020.
With that established, why would New England want to give up draft assets for an oft-injured quarterback like Garoppolo? Do we expect Garoppolo to be that much better than Newton–especially with an offense that is seemingly built for the latter to succeed?
The Correct Route is to Trade Up for a Franchise QB
The Patriots’ right thing to do is to lean on Newton to run an offense he’s comfortable with while using draft assets to trade up to find their long-term answer at quarterback.
Ohio State’s Justin Fields or North Dakota State’s Trey Lance are the most intelligent options. Both of those guys could benefit from sitting a year, learning the system, and absorbing the work ethic that Newton brings to the team. If Newton does falter in 2021, Belichick could turn to the rookie, but if things go as planned, Fields or Lance could be the team’s starter in 2022.
Chasing Garoppolo would only convolute this process.
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