Yes, Patriots quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo has a shoulder injury. No, he suffered no broken bones.
But that’s just the beginning of the story. Given the various ligaments and tendons and tissues that hold a shoulder together, more testing is needed to diagnose the injury, and to come up with a prognosis. Per a league source, the mere fact that Garoppolo is in “tremendous pain” after the incident makes his availability for Thursday night against the Texans unlikely.
The question becomes whether he could play in Week Four against the Bills. Amind conflicting reports that he’ll be out six weeks or only one, it’s simply too early to know for sure either way. If Garoppolo can’t return by Week Four, it’s essentially a season-ending injury — unless Tom Brady suffers an injury when he returns in Week Five.
If Garoppolo can’t play on Thursday night, the next question becomes whether the Patriots add a quarterback to serve as the understudy to Jacoby Brissett. Coach Bill Belichick had resisted adding a veteran during training camp, pointing out that there simply was no one available. Anyone who happens to be available now will be coming in cold, unless they swing a trade for a guy who knows the offense but is currently with another team, like Brian Hoyer (Bears), Matt Cassel (Titans), or Ryan Mallett (Ravens).
If the Patriots pursue any of them, how much will their current teams want, if they realize New England is desperate? Moreover, how willing would any of them be to accept what could be a very short-term stint as No. 2. Once Brady returns and if/when Garoppolo is healthy, whoever served as the backup on Thursday night eventually would be cut, most likely.
Free agents who have some knowledge of the system include Ryan Lindley and Matt Flynn. However, neither were impressive in short stints with the team more than a year ago.
Boomer Esiason of CBS apparently has suggested that the Patriots pursue quarterback Peyton Manning. But there are two problems with that. First, he currently is property of the Broncos, who would have to release him before he could join the Patriots, which would slow the process down until 4:00 p.m. ET Monday at the earliest. Second, after Vikings quarterback Teddy Bridgewater tore an ACL, PFT reported that Manning is done.