The New England Patriots finally made the move that many have speculated was in the works for months.
The Patriots traded coveted backup quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo to the San Francisco 49ers for a 2018 second-round pick, according to multiple reports. The deal comes on the eve of the trade deadline, but the timing still seems odd after the Patriots held onto Garoppolo throughout the offseason when his trade value might have been at its highest point.
It seemed the Patriots were intent on getting a king’s ransom for Garoppolo. While a second-round pick from the winless 49ers is valuable, the compensation seems slightly underwhelming.
But what does the Garoppolo trade mean for the New York Jets right now and going forward? Here’s what Jets fans need to know:
Tom Brady might play forever…
This is a bit of an exaggeration on Halloween. But just the thought of Brady playing into his 50s at the same level is terrifying.
Brady most likely won’t play too much longer, but the timing of this trade would suggest the Patriots are putting their eggs into Brady’s basket well into his 40s.
It makes sense for New England. Why doubt arguably the greatest quarterback of all-time when he hasn’t shown any signs of slowing down as a 40-year-old quarterback? Durability is concerning, especially when considering the shoddy offensive line in front of him. But Brady is once again an MVP candidate with 2,541 yards, 16 touchdowns and only two interceptions this season.
Brady has two more years on his contract after the 2017 season. The Patriots will likely let him play out the rest of that deal while seeking contingency options.
The Jets will have to deal with Brady for at least a couple more seasons.
What is the contingency plan?
The question New England never wants to even utter is “What happens if Brady gets hurt?” The even scarier possibility is “What happens if Brady regresses?”
These are questions the Patriots might not have to worry about. For all we know, Brady will play at this elite level until he decides to call it quits. But New England doesn’t have a viable backup plan in case either scenario occurs.
The Patriots didn’t have another quarterback on their roster behind Brady after the Garoppolo trade. They already traded Jacoby Brissett to the Indianapolis Colts earlier in the offseason.
Just like the Jets, the Patriots don’t have a plan for the future. Then again, they might not need one.
Maybe Bill Belichick had a change of heart
It’s been an odd year for the Patriots filled with uncharacteristic trades and acquisitions. This Garoppolo trade is the latest one.
But history suggests Brady’s backups haven’t held much value after leaving New England.
Garoppolo joins a group that includes Brissett, Matt Cassel and Drew Bledsoe among others who have been traded by New England after serving as Brady’s backup.
Garoppolo has the most potential of that bunch and the Patriots reportedly tried to work out a long-term deal. But perhaps Belichick didn’t view him as a sure bet to serve as Brady’s eventual heir.
A potential Kirk Cousins/2018 NFL Draft QB suitor is out of play
In acquiring Garoppolo, the 49ers officially bowed out of the pending Kirk Cousins sweepstakes. This could be the most important takeaway for Gang Green.
The Jets clearly don’t have a viable long-term option under center. Josh McCown has been fine, but he’s 38 and prone to injury. We might not see Bryce Petty or Christian Hackenberg all year, which might explain everything we need to know about their career prospects.
Could the Jets get in the Cousins bidding war, should he leave Washington? It’s certainly possible.
New York’s 3-5 start is better than most expected. With Cleveland and San Francisco both winless, the Jets’ hopes of securing the No. 1 overall pick in a quarterback-laden draft class are most likely dashed. Fortunately, the Jets probably won’t have to worry about San Francisco nabbing one of the top quarterbacks at the top of the draft. The 49ers also might be a potential trade partner for the Jets to move up to get one of the best prospects available.
The Jets would hold the 9th overall pick in the 2018 NFL Draft if the season ended today. That might be too far away to land one of the top QB prospects in this heralded class. Right now, the 5th overall pick seems to be the best-case scenario for the Jets given the number teams ahead of them in the order.
That makes Cousins a viable option for Gang Green this offseason. He will likely garner a hefty tab, but it’s one the Jets should be able to afford.
Cousins has been fine this year with 1,900 yards, 13 touchdowns and four interceptions. His offense has been banged up, his running game has been non-existent and his receiving core has underwhelmed. However, Cousins wouldn’t be walking into a much better situation in New York. There are also doubts as to whether Cousins can take a good team to the next level.
It’s uncertain if the Jets will actually pursue Cousins in free agency. But we know there’s one less QB-deprived team in need of his services.