The Patriots shocked the NFL world when they unexpectedly traded their backup quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo to the San Francisco 49ers for a 2018 second round pick.
This trade will have drastic effects on several different parties.
1. The Patriots
The Patriots shopped around Garoppolo leading into April’s draft, but no one thought that they would actually pull the trigger on any trade involving Tom Brady’s assumed heir. ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported that the Patriots traded Garoppolo now, as they were under the impression that it would have been too hard to re-sign him during free agency. This trade all but confirms that TB12 will end his career in a Patriots uniform, as he has outlasted yet another backup quarterback. Although it is foolish to question Bill Belichick’s decision making, the Patriots may be taking a slight risk with shipping their safety net to the Bay Area, as Tom Brady is only getting older, and the team has no idea about how much longer he’ll continue to perform at a high level. The Patriots will reportedly replace Garoppolo by signing former 49ers starter Brian Hoyer, who was TB12’s backup for a few years.
2. The 49ers and Jimmy Garoppolo
The 49ers will obtain a quarterback who has only had 2 career starts, which is not that great of a sample size. Garoppolo’s talent was evident, but that was within the Patriots’ system, where he was able to throw to talented receivers such as Julian Edelman and Chris Hogan. He won’t have the same comfort in the Bay Area, where he will play in a talent-starved 49ers offense. Garoppolo does have a lot of upside, so it’ll be interesting to see how he and Kyle Shanahan work together. Fortunately for the 49ers and Garoppolo, the team will likely have enough cap space this offseason to lock him up with a lucrative contract.
3. Kirk Cousins
This may seem like an odd addition to the people/organizations who will be affected by this trade, but Kirk Cousins’ future may be drastically altered based on how the trade turns out for the 49ers. Kirk Cousins has had a shaky relationship with the Redskins’ front office for years, as they have repeatedly refused to offer him a market value contract. Cousins has worked with Kyle Shanahan in the past, so many analysts were under the impression that Cousins would eventually find himself in the Bay Area. If the trade with the Patriots works out for the 49ers, Cousins may end up with a team that needs a quarterback, and has a lot of cap space (which is a description that fits many teams in the NFL).
Another important fact to note is that Garoppolo’s departure from Foxborough officially ends the ‘Wolfpack’ Era in New England. TB12, Garoppolo, and third-stringer Jacoby Brissett were known as the Wolfpack collectively, and the group has come to an end, as both Brissett and Garoppolo were traded this season (to the Colts and 49ers respectively).