- The New England Patriots traded Jimmy Garoppolo to the San Francisco 49ers for a 2018 second-round draft pick.
- The trade signals a huge belief that Brady can continue playing well into his 40s.
- The Patriots will have to find a backup for Brady and seek out a future replacement plan, but Brady is their guy for the foreseeable future.
The New England Patriots reportedly agreed to trade backup quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo to the San Francisco 49ers in exchange for a 2018 second-round draft pick on Monday.
In doing so, the Patriots made a resounding commitment to Tom Brady — he is the quarterback now and for the future.
As ESPN’s Adam Schefter noted, the trade signal a huge belief that Brady, at 40, can play into his mid-40s, as he’s stated he wants to do.
Not every team would be so confident. Brady hasn’t shown signs of slowing down this season, but the Patriots know that day will come eventually. At his age, an injury could affect his game or he could decline quickly, as Peyton Manning did in his final year (though Brady doesn’t have Manning’s injury history).
Furthermore, reports indicated that the Patriots viewed Garoppolo as the quarterback of the future. Turning 26 in November, Garoppolo showed signs of being a future starting quarterback in the two games he started during Brady’s suspension in 2016. When Brady does eventually retire, handing the reins to Garoppolo would have been an optimal scenario for the Patriots.
But figuring out the timelines of Brady and Garoppolo would have been tricky. Garoppolo is a free agent after this season and likely wouldn’t have had much interest in backing up Brady for many more seasons. The Patriots, likewise, might not have had much interest in paying a big salary to Garoppolo to be a backup, and they wouldn’t push Brady out the door to make room for Garoppolo.
Nonetheless, the Patriots held onto Garoppolo during the draft when teams called about him. They could have possibly gotten creative with Garoppolo’s next contract or found some way to appeal to him to stay patient until he could take over the team when Brady declines.
Instead, the Patriots got an offer they liked for Garoppolo and pounced. Earlier this season, they traded third-string quarterback Jacoby Brissett to the Indianapolis Colts. That leaves them in search for a backup for Brady now, and they will likely do their homework in seeking out future replacements for Brady.
In the meantime, Brady is both the present and the future for the Patriots. It’s unknown how he’ll hold up as he ventures into his 40s, but the Patriots, based on what they’ve seen, must believe he can continue to dominate.