The San Francisco 49ers had to have been disappointed with Jimmy Garoppolo’s performance in the Super Bowl, but at least the quarterback gained valuable experience that can help him going forward. However, with rumors swirling that the 49ers are interested in signing Tom Brady, you have to wonder if general manager John Lynch fears Garoppolo’s play on the big stage was as good as it gets.
Lynch has publicly supported Garoppolo this offseason and said the Niners are committed to the 28-year-old going forward, but Tom E. Curran of NBC Sports Boston says he was told by multiple sources that Lynch is concerned about Garoppolo’s ceiling and decision-making. Interestingly enough, Lynch recently emphasized how much room he believes Jimmy G. has to grow.
San Francisco 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo is coming off one of the best statistical seasons in franchise history. He helped lead San Francisco from a 4-12 record in 2018 to 13 wins, the NFC West title, the No. 1 overall seed and a shocking Super Bowl appearance.
Even then, rumors continue to persist that San Francisco could dump Garoppolo in favor of impending free-agent quarterback Tom Brady.
“As much as Niners head coach Kyle Shanahan likes Garoppolo, I’ve been told by multiple sources that he’s got some reservations about Garoppolo’s ceiling and overall decision making,” Tom E. Curran of NBC Sports Boston reported Wednesday.
Originally posted on Sportsnaut | By Vincent Frank | Last updated 3/4/20
No. 6 Tennessee (11-7) at No. 2 Kansas City (13-4), Sun., 3:05 p.m. ET (CBS)
Most intriguing matchup: In a John Riggins– or John Wick-level zone going into the Titans’ first AFC championship game in 17 years, Derrick Henryencounters a Chiefs team yet to stop him. For all their improvements, the Chiefs’ defense is not on the level of the Titans’ playoff opponents, the Patriots or Ravens. After finishing last in run-defense DVOA in 2017 and ’18, the Chiefs ranked 29th this season. Henry has delivered ruthless consistency against the Chiefs, gaining 191 scrimmage yards on 25 touches in each of his past two opportunities –- in November 2019 and in the Titans’ 2017 wild-card-round upset win. Henry scored twice in a 2016 upset win in Kansas City and has five touchdowns against the Chiefs. Tennessee’s Taylor Lewan- and Rodger Saffold-led offensive line has helped Henry to four of the NFL’s top six rushing performances this season. The Titans’ only victory path is not a secret.
QB intelligence report: Becoming the ninth player to throw five touchdown passes in a playoff game, Kansas City’s Patrick Mahomesnow has eight TD tosses, 894 yards and no interceptions in three postseason contests. Only Mahomes and the Steelers’ Ben Roethlisberger have quarterbacked teams to AFC championship games in their first two seasons as starters. Mahomes piloted an NFL-playoff-record seven straight touchdown drives Sunday, with the Texans becoming the first team since 1940 to lose a playoff game in which it held a 17-plus-point first-quarter lead. Kansas City’s comeback-turned-blowout showed the margin for error Mahomes creates. This is the optimal modern quarterback. Tennessee QB Ryan Tannehill, whose yards per passing attempt (9.6) total was the fourth most since 1960, faces the NFL’s eighth-ranked pass defense. It slammed the door on a Houston rally. Tannehill, however, did orchestrate a four-play, 61-yard, game-winning drive to beat the Chiefs in November and just navigated two superior defenses to reach this round.
New blueprints coming soon: These franchises’ respective roster constructions raise the stakes. The Chiefs are 2-for-2 in AFC championship game appearances behind Mahomes, but he’s now extension-eligible and will command a market-reshaping contract this offseason. The Chiefs also will have Pro Bowl defensive tackle Chris Joneson either a franchise tag or near-Aaron Donald-level extension next season. The forthcoming calculus change will require new Chiefs road maps to championship-caliber rosters. The Titans are ready to pay up to see if Tannehill’s late bloom is legitimate. They also have one of the more unusual extensions to negotiate with Henry -– an old-school back whose skill set differs from the position’s top wage earners –- and also have right tackle Jack Conklinas an impending free agent. These costs amplify the importance of maximizing opportunity when the math is easier.
Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes (left) and tight end Travis Kelce Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
And the winner is… Kansas City
The Chiefs are 0-3 against the Titans during Henry’s career, and this is the most consistent version of the bludgeoning back. Kansas City is 2-7 in home playoff games since 1995, andAndy Reidteams are not known for big-stage reliability. But the Mahomes advantage will be too much. The Chiefs’ Legion of Zoom receiving corps, coupled with potential Hall of Fame tight end Travis Kelce, represents a significantly more difficult matchup for the Titans’ No. 20-ranked DVOA pass defense than the Patriots or Ravens did. More victory avenues exist for the favorite, Henry’s brutal brilliance notwithstanding. The Chiefs will survive another Henry onslaught and book their first Super Bowl berth in 50 years.
In Week 12, Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers fumbles as he is sacked by 49ers middle linebacker Fred Warner (54). Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports
No. 2 Green Bay (14-3) at No. 1 San Francisco (14-3), Sun., 6:40 p.m. ET (FOX)
Most intriguing matchup: San Francisco’s defensive line hounded Aaron Rodgersin Week 12, sacking him five times and holding him to a career-worst 3.15 yards per attempt. Rookie Nick Bosa(1 sack) and the once-underwhelming Arik Armstead(2 sacks) ignited the 49ers’ 37-8 rout. Dee Ford(7.5 sacks in an injury-prone season) did not play that night; he will Sunday. Green Bay’s offensive line rated 10th in pass protection, per Football Outsiders, and has veteran tackles in David Bakhtiari and Bryan Bulaga. The latter missed most of the Packers’ loss to the 49ers, and Armstead and Bosa dominated backup Alex Light. Even with Bulaga, who will presumably be back from an illness that sidelined him against the Seahawks, the Packers are up against a special defense -– one that will have high-priced linebacker Kwon Alexander back as well.
Two gifted running backs — Shaun Alexander and LaDainian Tomlinson — won the Associated Press NFL MVP Award in consecutive seasons, 2005-2006. Since then, 11 of the past 12 MVPs have been quarterbacks, including 2018 top dog Patrick Mahomes who earned 41 of the 50 first-place votes. Fellow quarterback Drew Brees finished second. So Adrian Peterson’s 2012 season — less than a year removed from a torn ACL — remains the last time somebody other than an NFL quarterback hoisted the NFL MVP hardware.
Spoiler alert: Based on the favorites to win the 2019 MVP, don’t expect this trend to change anytime soon.
Odds via Bovada
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Odds: +2,500 2018 Stats: 3,395 pass yards, 24 TDs and 13 INTs | 488 rush yards and four TDs
A shoulder injury may have cost Newton the final two games on paper, but anybody who watched the Panthers quarterback grind out the 2018 season knows it cost the team much more. Carolina started the season 6-2 and in a prime position to reach the playoffs. However, the severity of Newton’s shoulder injury prevented him from throwing balls down field and allowed defenses to cheat up and play the underneath routes. After the hot start, the Panthers lost seven of their last eight games. Newton had offseason surgery to repair the shoulder, and he’s expected to be back at 100 percent by the start of the season. His MVP chances ride on improved play of DJ Moore, Jarius Wright and a healthy Greg Olsen. The veteran tight end has missed 16 games over the past two seasons due to injury, but when healthy he’s Cam’s most trusted target. If Olsen misses time, running back Christian McCaffrey’s MVP odds could be just as high as Cam’s. 3 of 16
Rivers may be the NFL equivalent of MLB’s Cal Ripken. The Chargers ironman has not missed a game for 13 consecutive seasons. While the league has gone to great lengths to protect the quarterback, the fact Rivers hasn’t sustained a serious injury over the past 208 games is nothing short of a miracle. Led by Keenan Allen, his receiving corps remains intact and receives a slight upgrade with the full-time return of tight end Hunter Henry who missed the 2018 regular season with a torn ACL. The one constant who is missing as of press time is Melvin Gordon. The Chargers starting running back is holding out in hopes of a new contract. If Gordon’s holdout lingers into the regular season, Rivers’ odds of winning the 2019 MVP should take a notable hit. 4 of 16
Odds: +3,300 2018 stats: 718 pass yards, five TDs and three INTs (in only three games due to torn ACL)
The saying goes, “we don’t know what we don’t know,” and when it comes to Jimmy G. what we don’t know outweighs his elite hype. Garoppolo has yet to play in more than six regular-season games and missed the final 13 games of the 2018 season with a torn ACL. So the 2019 season will be a fresh canvas on which to either paint a masterpiece and fill in those unknown gaps OR post pedestrian stats as he has through his first nine games as the 49ers quarterback: 12:8 TD:INT ratio. If you’re looking for a reason to back this long shot, Kyle Shanahan’s offensive schemes will benefit — not hurt — Jimmy G’s shot at the 2019 MVP. 5 of 16
Ryan was one of only four quarterbacks last season to finish with more than 600 pass attempts. Aside from a pass-first offense, the primary reason his pass attempts reached a three-year high is due to a host of injuries on the defensive side of the ball, which turned the secondary into Swiss-cheese city, and opponents racked up early leads. So Ryan, Julio Jones, Calvin Ridley (10 TDs as a rookie) and others spent most of the game in rally mode via the pass. If the defense can stay healthy, the Falcons are one of those squads that could flip the script and qualify for the playoffs one year after missing them. Ryan is as consistent as they come and despite turning 30 years old, Jones will go down as one of the top targets in NFL history. 6 of 16
Without Le’Veon Bell last season, Roethlisberger led the NFL in completions (career-high), attempts (career-high), passing yards (career-high) and pass yards per game. The loss of both Bell and Antonio Brown will no doubt change the Steelers’ offensive dynamic, but don’t sleep on wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster to fill Brown’s shoes as Big Ben’s primary receiver in addition to a healthy running game of James Connor and Jaylen Samuels behind one of the NFL’s best offensive lines. While many believe the AFC North torch has been passed to Baker Mayfield and the Cleveland Browns, an MVP season by Roethlisberger would mute any chance of that happening. 7 of 16
Odds: +2,000 2018 Stats: 4,165 pass yards, 26 TDs and nine INTs | 551 rush yards and five TDs
The good news for Watson is that he’ll probably compete for an NFL MVP one day. The bad news is that unless his offensive line play improves 1,000 percent, he won’t be among the 2019 MVP finalists. Remember: Despite mobility that rivals Russell Wilson, Watson was sacked a league-high 62 times. To be fair some of those sacks were no doubt Watson’s fault. However, as of early August, head coach Bill O’Brien admits he still doesn’t know who will start on the offensive line. How does this not get addressed in the offseason? Forget Watson’s MVP chances. The Texans could find themselves on the outside looking in come playoff time. 8 of 16
The Chicago Bears 2018 defense ranked first in points allowed and against the rush, third in turnover differential (+12) and seventh against the pass. Its pass offense ranked outside the top 20. So the obvious question becomes where can Trubisky improve in his third year when the top three receiving targets remain the same and the Bears front office elected to shake up the running back depth chart after averaging 121 rush yards per game last season (11 th)? It’s a loaded question. Despite an above-average arm and 421 rush yards and three rush TDs last season, it’s hard to fathom Trubisky making enough of a statistical leap toward MVP when the most valuable players — plural — on the team likely reside on the defensive side of the ball. 9 of 16
Because the Seahawks averaged a league-leading 160 yards per game last season, Wilson’s passing totals were the lowest since 2014. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but for the Seahawks to make another Super Bowl run, the offense needs to find a consistent passing game aside from Wilson running for his life on third and long. Wilson was sacked 51 times last season, but that total could have been higher if not for his elite mobility out of the pocket. So the offensive line play must improve, and Pete Carroll needs to find lighting in a bottle with second-round draft pick DK Metcalf. The 6-foot-4, 228-pound receiver out of Ole Miss is a polarizing brand, but Wilson has no choice but to embrace the rookie because without Doug Baldwin, No. 3’s primary target is 5-foot-11, 175-pound speedster Tyler Lockett. 10 of 16
Wentz’s 2017 season was cut short due to an ACL tear, and he missed the final three games of the 2018 season with a stress fracture in his back. The knock of Wentz is that these annual ailments date back to high school. However, when you place the injury history on the back burner and assess a potential 16-game campaign for the Eagles quarterback, it’s evident he has the talent and players around him to make a run at an MVP and Super Bowl title. One guy who will help him reach those goals is DeSean Jackson. The speedy, downfield receiver returns to Philadelphia at age 32 and should allow for Alshon Jeffery and Nelson Agholor to enjoy softer coverages this season. Also, the arrival of Jordan Howard should improve the Eagles 28 th-ranked running game of a season ago, which should also boost Wentz’s MVP odds.
The San Francisco 49ers have traded a 2018 second-round draft pick for New England Patriots quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo, sources told ESPN’s Adam Schefter on Monday night.
San Francisco had two second-round picks, but the one traded for Garoppolo is its original second-round pick, a source said.
The 49ers and Patriots began discussing the trade Monday morning and by evening the trade was officially agreed upon. The 49ers have also decided to release veteran quarterback Brian Hoyer, a source told Schefter.
Garoppolo, 25, is scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent after the season. The 49ers are likely to keep him by signing him to a new deal or tagging him as their franchise player.
That would mean Washington Redskins quarterback Kirk Cousins will have one less landing spot in free agency.
The Patriots would seem to have bought into the idea that Tom Brady can play well into his 40s and are left without a backup at quarterback, having traded Jacoby Brissett to the Indianapolis Colts in September for receiver Phillip Dorsett.
The Patriots are on their bye week, during which they will have extra time to find a backup via trade or free agency. They will have until Tuesday’s 4 p.m. ET trade deadline to explore that avenue.
Brady, speaking in his weekly Monday night Westwood One radio interview, said he wasn’t sure of New England’s plans.
“I really don’t know,” Brady said. “I’ve been at home all day and learned the news at home. That’s up for everyone else to decide. My job is quarterback and that’s what I’m focused on.”
Brady said he hoped Garoppolo will make a good starting quarterback for the 49ers.
“He’s put in all the effort,” Brady said. “I’ve watched him for 3½ years and really enjoyed working with him. Hopefully he goes on and does a great job.”
Every year I start to get my hopes up, just a little bit, at this point in the season. I try to convince myself that this will be the year when NFL general managers finally get a little more aggressive and ambitious and mirror their brethren in the NBA, NHL and MLB, and actually provide a little excitement at the trade deadline.
The football deadline will never be as exciting as those other sports for many reasons. Blame the intricacies of this game and how much nuance and teammate and prep time is required to learn schemes and playbooks. Or the parity of football and the fact that a midseason deadline ensures most teams are still at least somewhat viable playoff candidates. There are also no farm systems stocked with future prospects with which to package in trades.
But still, there should at least be a modicum of action. And with so many teams seemingly with at least one eye on the first overall pick in the 2018 NFL Draft already, and eager to be in position to draft a quarterback very high in April if necessary, perhaps we’ll finally get more movement at the end of this month (the deadline is at 4 pm on October 31 this season, and hopefully things get spooky in a few front offices around Halloween).
No one wants to be seen as throwing in the towel on this season … but let’s also be real about where some young general managers are right now. Rookie GMs John Lynch (49ers), Brandon Beane (Bills) and Chris Ballard (Jets) inherited bad teams and have been willing to be bold already in reshaping their rosters with an emphasis on 2018 and beyond. Smart teams will get ahead of the curve before the offseason and, especially given the atrocious state of offensive line play, if you have an older tackle with a decent pedigree on a struggling team who might not be around in 2-3 years when the franchise turns around, well, I’d be shopping him around. The list of playoff hopeful teams who could use an upgrade include the Patriots, Packers (gutted by injuries), Seahawks, Cardinals, Panthers, Jaguars, Titans (the tackles are great but the interior linemen are getting beat), Ravens. OK, I’ll stop there, and I highly doubt that many of the above teams actually reach the postseason (Baltimore, Arizona, Jacksonville, Tennessee, I’m talking to you), but you get the idea.
There is no excuse not to be floating some ideas and taking the temperature of rival GMs as we get deeper into October. Here’s the case for why some teams should be more proactive marketing certain players ahead of the deadline:
Larry Fitzgerald WR / Cardinals
This might be the end for the timeless receiver and the Cardinals are a whole lot closer to being 0-4 than they are to winning anything this season. They may have the worst line in the league, Carson Palmer is near the end too, and so, too, might be head coach Bruce Arians. Playing his entire career in Arizona would be special … but going out a champion on a Super Bowl team might be better. I’d give him that shot and it’s obvious the man can still play.
Derek Carr and Jimmy Garoppolo were separated by 26 picks in the 2014 draft.
This fall, Carr will make $25 million. Garoppolo will make less than $900,000.
“I don’t think about it too much,” Garoppolo said, when I asked him about it the other day. “I’m happy for Derek. I know him from playing in the Senior Bowl and going through the draft process. It’s tremendous. He deserved it. It’s just one of those things. You’ve gotta go about your business.
“You start thinking about those things, you’ll get your head all twisted up worrying about the wrong things. When that time comes, I’ll approach that and go about my business that way.”
What’s uncertain is what’ll happen when that time comes at the end of this season. And that part is complicated, which is our lesson for this week: There are a number of teams facing tricky franchise-tag situations with veteran quarterbacks for 2018.
Here’s a rundown …
• Patriots: New England could effectively kick the long-term QB decision can down the road for another year by tagging Garoppolo at about $22 million in 2018. The issue there? Tom Brady is slated to make $15 million. So, to make this work, does New England have to give Brady a raise in the neighborhood of $8 million? And even if you got that worked out, and were willing to allocate $45 million to two players, would Garoppolo be OK with sitting another year while the team waits to see what a 41-year-old Brady looks like? It seems more likely this is an either/or proposition.
• Vikings: Both Sam Bradford and Teddy Bridgewater are in contract years, and there’s only one franchise tag between them. When I asked GM Rick Spielman about it, he said, “We haven’t made any decisions yet. But I know through our roster planning and our cap planning, we have plans in place to have that position taken care of.” If Bridgewater sits out the year and his contract tolls—there could be a dispute over that down the line—Minnesota may be able to delay a long-term decision another here. At least for now, it seems that chances would be that one or the other will be a free agent.
• Saints: Drew Brees is in a contract year, publicly says he’s not worried about getting an extension done now, and has a no-franchise-tag provision in his contract for 2018. So in a way, New Orleans will have to prove to him that it’s still the right place for a quarterback who will be 39 years old when the free-agent gates open in March. And Sean Payton’s future beyond this year probably will play into that call, too.
• Redskins: This one’s been well-covered. It’d cost Washington a market-busting $34.47 million to franchise Cousins again, and $28.73 million for the team just to retain matching rights (with no compensation coming back if he leaves) via the transition tag. Meanwhile, Cousins knows he’ll have one natural landing spot (San Francisco) and might have two (Los Angeles, depending on Jared Goff’s play).
• Lions: Matthew Stafford is the other big quarterbacking name in a contract year, and by far the least likely guy on this list to change addresses. Detroit will get something done with him, but Stafford’s franchise number is high ($26.4 million), because his expiring deal has a big cap number for 2017. That, on paper, gives him the leverage to ask for close to $30 million per (2 tags = $58.08 million). Or he could give a little back there and ask for more cash to be guaranteed. Either way, he’s in a good spot.
The hype surrounding Patriots backup quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo died down a bit after the draft and free agency, but as we approach the start of training camp, it is starting to swirl again.
Garoppolo was famously not traded by the Pats this offseason, who demanded an exorbitant price for the former second-round pick on the final year of his rookie contract. The argument for dealing him is the Patriots can’t afford Garoppolo, but the argument against trading him is the Patriots are not quite comfortable with Jacoby Brissett running the offense and want insurance if anything happens to Tom Brady, injury or otherwise.
New England looks more loaded than last season, when it won the Super Bowl and still has two quality quarterbacks under contract. They very well might have two top-25 passers: some people believe Garoppolo would be capable of taking even a bad team to the playoffs.
Speaking to Mike Giardi of CSN New England, one former Patriots player said Garoppolo would make the Browns a “borderline playoff team.”
“I played against him every day in practice. He’s all that,” the anonymous player told Giardi. “He can make all the throws. He can process all the information. He is a gamer. He can slow it down. He can spin it. I’m going tell you this, if he had gotten traded to Cleveland, they’re a borderline playoff team. I really believe that.”
The Browns are a really young team, one that probably has a ceiling of about six wins. They have an impressive offensive line they spent the offseason upgrading through free agency, there are some skill position guys (David Njoku, Isaiah Crowell, Corey Coleman, Duke Johnson) with lots of upside and the defense added a lot of young parts (Myles Garrett, Jabrill Peppers, Larry Ogunjobi, Jamie Collins) over the last nine months.
The NFL is a humbling, dog-eat-dog business, but when it comes to suffering indignities at the office, Glennon is a special case.
In Tampa, he was benched for journeyman Josh McCown, who is now playing for his eighth NFL team. He watched the Buccaneers pick Jameis Winston No. 1 overall just two years after drafting him, relegating him to clipboard duty. He had to adjust to three different head coaches and three different coordinators in four seasons.
Then, a break, it seemed. Despite attempting only 11 NFL passes since the start of the 2015 season, he somehow landed a three-year, $45 million deal that includes $19 million guaranteed from the Bears in March.
Finally, Mike Glennon was the man.
At least for seven weeks. Then he headed out to his new team’s draft night party at Soldier Field to sign some autographs, snap some photos with fans and await the pick of the defensive stud that the Bears were absolutely supposed to take at No. 3 overall. That’s when Bears general manager Ryan Pace decided to pants Glennon with the entire football world watching, inexplicably giving up three picks to move up one spot and draft Mitchell Trubisky, a one-year wonder at North Carolina.
As if that wasn’t bad enough, Trubisky, the future face of the franchise, played for the most-hated rival of Glennon’s alma mater.
Yep, it’s definitely going to be a fun quarterback room this season in Chicago. It’s so bad that even Jay Cutler, of all people, offered to reach out to Glennon for a pep talk. If the two ever connected, we’re guessing the conversation probably went something like this.
Cutler: Hate the Bears now?
Cutler: Hey, who got my old parking spot?
But Glennon can take solace in this: He’s not the only quarterback who had an uncomfortable draft night or enters 2017 in an uneasy spot. Entering training camp, here are the 15 most awkward QB situations, ranked.
15. New England Patriots
The Patriots have the best QB situation in the NFL. They have the ageless Tom Brady, the greatest QB of all time, under center. They also have the NFL’s best backup in Jimmy Garoppolo, who Bill Belichick refused to trade in the offseason despite a robust market for his services.
But this situation has the potential to become the most awkward in the NFL, by a mile, if Brady struggles in 2017. Think Joe Montana in a Chiefs uniform, or Jerry Rice running routes for the Raiders and Seahawks. Think Joe Namath with the Rams or Johnny Unitas limping through a season with the Chargers. Think of the unthinkable: Belichick going full Belichick and moving on from Brady, like he has with so many other signature Pats. Our own Joel Corry explained why time and money aren’t on Belichick’s side when it comes to keeping two starting-quality QBs on his roster. And there’s no way Belichick held on to Garoppolo, passing on a ransom of draft capital, to get a measly comp pick if Brady’s backup leaves in free agency after 2017.
Will Brady ever play for another franchise other than the Patriots? No, it can’t happen. It won’t happen. Until it does happen. Brady’s boyhood idol was Montana, so he knows better than anyone that time waits for no man, not even legends.
The next generation of NFL signal callers just flew into town on Wednesday. They won’t work out until Saturday, but the frantic search for quality quarterbacks is the biggest agenda item as teams descend on Indianapolis for the NFL combine.
With the combine ending the day before the legal tampering period of free agency begins, the next week or so is the time for teams with a glaring need at quarterback—Cleveland, the Jets and the entirely quarterback-less 49ers among them—to chart a plan for the most important position on the roster. That can happen in the interview rooms or back-channel meetings with agents or other teams.
The biggest domino in this offseason’s quarterback sweeps is Patriots back-up Jimmy Garoppolo. The MMQB’s Peter King has written for a few weeks that he’d be surprised if the Patriots traded Tom Brady’s back-up, and Wednesday morning, ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported that Garoppolo will not be dealt, at any price. If that holds true, and if the Patriots truly can’t be swayed by a package like a first- and a third-round pick from a very interested team like the Browns, that will be a sea change for the quarterback marketplace.
Garoppolo, who started just two games for the Patriots during Brady’s suspension, is not a sure thing as a starter. But all you need to know about how teams around the league view him is that the Patriots are intent on holding onto the 25-year-old, taken with a second-round pick in 2014. If he’s not available, teams in the market for a starting quarterback will have to order off a menu that no longer includes the best dish. The remaining choices:
1) Another young back-up with a small set of starting experience, like Mike Glennon (a free agent) or AJ McCarron (under contract for one more year in Cincinnati). If you’re the Browns, good luck getting Mike Brown to trade McCarron within the division.
2) A veteran like Tony Romo or Jay Cutler, who are expected to be available either by trade or as free agents if their teams release them, or Colin Kaepernick, who will reportedly opt out of his contract and become a free agent. Asking around about potential trade value, I’ve heard in the neighborhood of a third-round pick for Romo and a fifth-round pick for Cutler. Given the going rate for quarterbacks, Romo’s contract is not prohibitive for a trade, though the Cowboys releasing him appears to be the most likely outcome. The Bears would have to wait for Cutler to pass a physical before executing a trade, and he certainly wouldn’t fit into every locker room. But he still has the arm talent and, as one team executive put it, “there are not enough quality quarterbacks, so he will definitely be a starter in 2017.”