Regardless of how the final few weeks unfold, the New England Patriots will have a Jimmy G question to grapple with in the offseason.
Jimmy Garoppolo is set to enter the final year of his rookie contract, making it the ideal time for Bill Belichick to see a return on his second-round investment.
NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport said Sunday on NFL GameDay Morning that the Patriots will listen to offers for the quarterback, but it's not a given Jimmy G will get shipped out to the top bidder.
"The Patriots are open to trading Jimmy Garoppolo and they are going to listen to all offers, as they have over the last couple years for Garoppolo -- and they have gotten a couple inquiries," Rapoport said. "But from what I am being told there are several complicating factors: First of all, the price tag, expected to be at least a first-round pick -- just based off the quarterback market. Will anyone give them that? Second of all, are the Patriots really comfortable going forward with Jacoby Brissett as their backup quarterback in case Tom Brady gets hurt? That might be the biggest question of all."
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The Eagles got first- and fourth-round picks from the Vikings in the Sam Bradford trade, so that could be the starting point if a team is desperate enough -- as Minnesota was last season. Any team that gives up a top pick would need assurances they could get a long-term deal done with Garoppolo.
The price for Garoppolo could change depending on what happens with Kirk Cousins' contract situation in Washington and where Tony Romo ends up. A team like the Cleveland Browns would make a lot of sense for a landing spot -- former Browns GM and long-time Belichick confidant Mike Lombardi has already reported Cleveland would go hard after Garoppolo.
The fact that Garoppolo only has two career starts under his belt could scare some teams from coughing up a first-round pick or sinking huge money into Brady's understudy. While we view Garoppolo as an exponentially better prospect than Brock Osweiler, the Texans' $72 million boondoggle on an unproven player could cause other GMs to overcorrect, and become skittish this year.
It will certainly take more than the third-round compensation pick the Pats could get back down the road -- if they held onto Garoppolo and he left after 2017 -- but don't underestimate Belichick's love of compiling draft picks influencing the situation. If the coach is comfortable with his QB situation behind Brady, then he's not going to hang onto a trade chip just because he can't pilfer a high first-round pick.
Don't expect a resolution to the Garoppolo question soon after the season. Belichick will play poker with the rest of the league, banking on someone paying up if they are left without a quarterback following free agency or the draft.