Analyst Predicts Bill Belichick Draft Pick to Return to Patriots: ‘Major Curveball’

New England Patriots

Getty New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick

There is no denying that New England Patriots quarterback Mac Jones has taken a step back in 2022 and NFL analysts believe that he could face some competition or even be replaced in 2023.

Appearing on FS1’s “The Herd” alongside Colin Cowherd, NFL analyst Jason McIntyre predicted that former Patriots quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo could return to New England.

“I will go with a major curveball, and I will say Jimmy Garoppolo lands with the New England Patriots,” McIntyre said. “Colin, if you remember, Belichick drafted Garoppolo in 2014. You’ve been saying for weeks now that (Patriots owner Robert) Kraft is going to say to Bill, ‘Hey, what’s going on, Bill? Are you going to make some staff changes?’ Bill will say, ‘You know what? You made me get rid of Jimmy Garoppolo. Remember when Tom Brady and his wife complained to you? Bring me back Garoppolo and I’ll show you I can get to the playoffs and do some damage.’ Mac Jones, I think we would agree he’s regressed a little bit. I think Jimmy Garoppolo to the Patriots makes a lot of sense.”

Jones has thrown for just 2,754 passing yards, 11 touchdowns and 8 interceptions this season per Pro Football Reference. 

The Patriots Could Sign Jimmy Garoppolo as a Free Agent

Garoppolo is slated to hit free agency as his one-year, $7 million contract expires at the end of the 2022 season. The 31-year-old stepped back under center for the San Francisco 49ers after Trey Lance suffered a season-ending ankle injury in Week 2.

During a Heavy Sports appearance on December 29, former NFL GM Randy Mueller suggested Garoppolo is a sure bet to be playing elsewhere in 2023.

“I think Jimmy G is gone,” Mueller said. “I think that ship has sailed. He’ll end up somewhere else. There’ll be a demand for him. We see what’s happened around the league. There are some quarterback-starved teams right now.”

In 11 games played this season, Garoppolo has 2,437 passing yards, 16 touchdowns and 4 interceptions per Pro Football Reference. Since being traded by the Patriots, Garoppolo has thrown for over 13,500 yards, 82 touchdowns, and 42 interceptions.

Bill Belichick and the Patriots drafted Garoppolo in the second round of the 2014 NFL draft. Belichick reflected on the quarterback in 2021.

“Everybody here had a lot of confidence in him,” Belichick said. “It’s one of those situations where you’re not able to keep all the players, based on the situation that’s set up, which is understandable. I’m glad that it’s worked out for him and San Francisco.

The Patriots are Moving Up the Power Rankings

Heading into Week 18, the Patriots are moving up Bleacher Report’s power rankings. New England moved up two spots to 18th overall heading into Week 18.

“The Patriots aren’t a bad team,” Gary Davenport said. “But they aren’t a particularly good one, either. New England has spent the season beating bad opponents and losing to good ones. The Pats have played nine games against teams that are .500 or better. New England is 3-6 in those contests, and all three victories came against 8-8 teams. Against opponents with more wins than losses, the Patriots are winless in four tries.”

The Patriots need a win if they want to make the playoffs. If the Buffalo Bills end up beating New England, the Pats can still get into the playoffs with a loss if Miami, Pittsburgh, and Tennessee also suffer losses in Week 18.

No matter the result, Jones will have to prove in 2023 that he deserves to be a starter and that might just include a quarterback competition prior to the regular season.

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