Despite pick swapping, Pats 'not pursuing' Garoppolo at this time
Those who where hoping that Jimmy Garoppolo; "the rightful heir to the throne"; you can go back into the corner and cry you're eyes out as it is being reported that the New England Patriots will not be pursuing the Niners signal caller. All this coming after San Francisco on Friday traded up nine spots to in the first round of the draft to move up to the third overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft.
After the trade was announced and confirmed by multiple sources including Ian Rappaport of NFL Network and Adam Schefter of ESPN, rumors quickly swirled that Jimmy Garoppolo would be made available by the 49ers as San Francisco would most likely take a quarterback with the third pick. It's extremely possible that a quarterback could go within the first three picks of the draft. Despite reports from 49ers General Manager John Lynch claiming that San Fran has zero interest in trading away Garoppolo, who still has two years left of a five-year $135 million deal that he signed back in 2018.
Rumors quickly swirled that the Patriots would absolutely be interested in bringing back Garoppolo to be the face of the franchise after losing Tom Brady to free agency last season to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers; who went on to not only host, but win the Super Bowl. Garoppolo seemed like a perfect fit as right now the QB room for the Patriots is just Cam Newton and Jarrett Stidham. Obviously, Jimmy G entering that mix it would be a no brainer that he would start, while Newton and Stidham would be the back-ups. Alas, that dream will not become reality.
Due to cap space restrictions, the Patriots would be unable to add Jimmy Garoppolo to the books as he carries a cap hit just north of $26 million. In addition to all of the offseason moves that Patriots have made this offseason to this point, committing a lot of money to guys like Jonnu Smith, Hunter Henry, Matt Judon and many others, it has left the Patriots with around $15-22 million of cap space left. Stephen Gilmore carries a huge cap hit with more than $15 million. If the Patriots were able to either restructure that contract or trade Gilmore outright, it would then open up the space needed to potentially get Jimmy G from the 49ers but as of right now the Patriots have no interest in trading Gilmore so there's that.
As much as Jimmy G would be an astronomical upgrade to Cam Newton, it's clear that the Pats not only don't have the cap space to carry Garoppolo's contract, but they seem very committed to Newton at the moment who's contract is much more team friendly and possibly the plan going forward is to make the playbook more to Newton's strength.
The Patriots still have the 15th overall pick in the draft and could potentially look for a quarterback in there first round of the draft depending who is available to the Patriots at 15. Plus the Patriots still need to find a true number one wide receiver as their current number one in Julian Edelman, his status is still up in the air for the 2021 season. Obviously guys like Nelson Agholor, Kendrick Bourne, and Jakobi Meyers can help make in impact. If the Patriots can bring back Demari Byrd, that would be another plus for this offense. N'Keal Harry hasn't lived up to his late-first round status.
The Patriots might not be done yet when it comes to free agency as they could certainly sign players to a one-year team friendly deal and add some depth on both sides of the football. There's also the draft would could be the only way the Patriots find a quarterback of the future for possibly 2022 and beyond, or maybe even this upcoming season, depending what happens with training camp and pre-season games. The number of pre-season games is something to watch as the NFL is expected to add a 17th game to the schedule for the 2021 season.
Still roughly about 16 weeks until training camp officially opens up, so there's still plenty of time for the Patriots to make moves and draft a guy at the quarterback position. However, until something changes, Cam Newton will be the starting Quarterback for the Patriots when the 2021 NFL Season kicks off.