The Patriots are without a first-round pick in this year's draft, but could they make some noise anyway?
Jeff Howe of the Boston Herald recently brought up an interesting prospect: Trade backup Jimmy Garoppolo to a quarterback-needy team and potentially get a very early second-rounder back -- or at least a pile of mid-round picks.
Garoppolo could shine amid a rookie quarterback field that leaves something to be desired. Carson Wentz, Jared Goff and Paxton Lynch all have incredible attributes, but for a franchise like Houston or Cleveland (especially the playoff-ready Texans), would they be worth the year or two it takes to break them in?
Garoppolo has shown plenty of promise and has already spent two years playing behind quite possibly the best quarterback in NFL history. This would not be the Ryan Mallett trade again, as Garoppolo is much younger and was a more polished prospect coming out of college when the Patriots drafted him in the second round back in 2013.
Garoppolo's contract runs through the 2017 season, leaving Bill Belichick another season to develop a rookie quarterback of his choosing. Though the quarterback class is top-heavy, plenty of intriguing talent like Dak Prescott, Cardale Jones and Nate Sudfeld lurk in the mid to late rounds.
Will it happen? Probably not. But it does force us to wonder how long Tom Brady really plans on playing. If Belichick holds on to Garoppolo through the life of his deal, what will that say about how he feels about Brady at 40? At the moment, Brady shows no signs of slowing down, and with his Father Time-defying health regiment, we could end up seeing a quarterback play longer and more effectively than any in NFL history (we already have, really).
If we truly believe, though, and the Patriots know they are starting Brady for at least three more years, why not trade Garoppolo and continue to load the team up around No. 12?