On the three-year anniversary of the decision of the Patriots to select quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo in the second round of the draft, Tom Curran of CSN New England has offered up a suggestion that, if it ever happens, would resonate for longer than three decades.
Curran believes that, eventually, the Patriots could choose Garoppolo over Tom Brady.
“[T]he Jimmy over Tommy possibility remains real,” Curran writes. “More probable than not? Not quite. But with the draft passing and Garoppolo remaining in New England, the Tom Brady Doomsday Clock inched closer to midnight.”
Within the next 10 months, much more clarity will emerge. The Patriots could trade Garoppolo before the annual deadline that arrives the Tuesday after Week Eight (although that’s highly unlikely). The Patriots could, for example, win another Super Bowl and Brady could yield to Mrs. Brady’s increasingly intense advice that he should walk away while on top.
They could tag and trade Garoppolo at the outset of the next league year. They could tag him and squat on him for another year, at a salary of more than $22 million. They could simply let him walk away in free agency, accepting a compensatory pick in 2019. They could sign him to a Band-Aid deal that pays him good-not-great money to remain the backup to Brady for one or more additional years.
Or the Patriots could, in theory, decide the time has come to make Garoppolo the starter and move Brady. And if Brady makes it clear that he plans to keep going and going and going, the Patriots will be the ones who eventually will have to pull the plug.
“The impression I’ve gotten from Brady is that the quarterback position in New England will have to be pried from his cold, dead hand,” Curran explains.
Regardless, it’s hard to imagine it ever coming to that point. With five Super Bowl wins and the oddsmakers making the Patriots the obvious favorite for a sixth, Brady has built up the kind of equity that transcends the commoditized nature of football, where players come and go based on the nonchalant whims of those who continuously make moves in the best interests of the team. For those who own the Patriots, Brady has become a member of the family; the Krafts may never be inclined to push Brady before he decides to walk away, and coach Bill Belichick may never be able to persuade them otherwise.
Still, a Brady-or-Garoppolo decision is likely looming. It’s nevertheless impossible to imagine Garoppolo ever winning that showdown without the kind of circumstances that propelled Brady into the starting job 16 years ago, including Garoppolo winning his first Super Bowl before Brady is forced to win his next one somewhere else.
For more from Curran on this topic, check out Wednesday’s PFT Live. Curran will join us at 8:35 a.m. ET on NBCSN and NBC Sports Radio.