“Everybody has a price.”
The Million Dollar Man Ted DiBiase made that line famous long before New England Patriots quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo could even hold a football, much less throw one. There is hardly anything less reliable than dusty catchphrases, but this one, in particular, has permeated through the NFL this offseason with the Cleveland Browns nose-deep in draft picks and in desperate need of a young quarterback.
Garoppolo is hotter than a Bruno Mars ticket right now, and every quarterback-deprived team is shaking their piggy banks and praying they have enough to foot the bill. What quantifies as enough has been an ongoing topic since the Patriots unleashed him on the league last September. In those one-and-a-half regular season games, Garoppolo proved his worth was immeasurable to the Patriots and thus set the bidding price for his contract.
We soon learned it would take more than a few coins to pry away the heir apparent of Tom Brady. If ESPN NFL insider Adam Schefter’s sources are correct, the entire piggy bank may not even be enough. The Cleveland Browns have been the one team with the available assets linked to a potential blockbuster trade for Garoppolo, but according to Schefter, the Patriots wouldn’t even deal him for multiple first-round draft picks.
“We could ask this question from now until draft day and beyond. Jimmy Garoppolo is going to be on the Patriots roster come training camp,” Schefter said, during an appearance on The Rich Eisen Show. “They’re not trading him. I do not think there’s any amount of picks that Cleveland [can offer to get him].”
We are beyond the scope of a swap of the No. 12 overall draft pick for the 25-year-old quarterback. The Patriots shouldn’t accept anything less than Cleveland’s No. 1 overall pick and various other assets to go along with it if they are actually considering dealing him.
It’s difficult to place a price tag on a potential superstar playing at the most important position in football. Imagine a do-over of last year’s draft knowing what we know today. How much would teams be willing to give up to go after rookie quarterback Dak Prescott?
Finding a legitimate franchise quarterback is about as likely as stumbling on a sheet of ice in the Sahara desert. They are the most vital component to a championship team, but they are also few and far between. That’s why trading Garoppolo might not necessarily be in the Patriots’ best interest. Brady plans on playing past 40 years old, but history shows him to be at the age when Father Time kicks down the door and ends careers.
Garoppolo may or may not be the next great quarterback, but he is already great coach Bill Belichick’s system. He was Brady-like when carving up the Arizona Cardinals and Miami Dolphins last season. The Patriots’ hesitance to trade him for potential first-round offers is further proof of the franchise’s unwavering belief in his talent. Of course, they run the risk of receiving nothing for him if they fail to trade him this year.
But that’s a risk they are willing to take at the quarterback position. If Brady gets injured or suddenly regresses, they already have an in-house replacement groomed and ready to take over the team.
Many will obviously snub their noses at the idea of rolling the dice when there are so many unknowns with a player. That’s certainly fair considering how badly the Houston Texans missed on Brock Osweiler a year ago. But there is always some risk that comes with every great reward. Even if a team doesn’t offer the jackpot for Garoppolo this year, they’ll have to do so next year if they have any hope of landing him in free agency. That’s if the Patriots decide not to use the franchise tag on him.
People tend to set outlandish prices for things they really don’t want to give away. Garoppolo is talented enough to keep the winning tradition going long after the Brady era in New England.
That kind of worth is invaluable.