Tom Brady and Bailey Zappe have been the usual candidates brought up as players that could potentially edge Mac Jones out of the New England Patriots in 2023. But what about Jimmy Garoppolo?
There hasn’t been nearly enough talk about the successor that never was for Brady.
When picking the future destinations for quarterbacks in the NFL, FOX Sports analyst Jason Mcintyre predicted a do-over for Garoppolo and the Patriots. And to be fair, the pairing does make sense in some ways.
There was a time when coach Bill Belichick wanted Garoppolo as the guy under center, and San Francisco 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan likely would have drafted Jones, if Trey Lance wasn’t on the board in 2022.
A gentleman’s swap could put Garoppolo back in a Patriots uniform and Jones with the quarterback whisperer that always wanted him in San Francisco.
Patriots fans surely remember when “Jimmy G” looked like the chosen one to replace Brady. He had everything—from the GQ looks all the way down to the system-friendly composure under center.
Belichick was ready to turn the page and move forward with Garoppolo, who stepped in briefly and had the Patriots offense humming during Brady’s four-game suspension for Deflategate.
But time’s sobering effects have worn on all of us. Garoppolo has been in the league now for nearly nine years, and he’s reached his ceiling as a player. Meanwhile, Jones is still playing with a question mark over his head in a sluggish offense with former defensive coordinator Matt Patricia calling the plays.
Are the Patriots really ready to turn the page on that guy?
Garoppolo has benefitted from playing in offenses with two of the league’s best offensive gurus, Shanahan and Josh McDaniels, overseeing things. He hasn’t come close to experiencing the sort of nightmare Jones now finds himself in this season.
A return to New England for Garoppolo would be like leaving Hawkins, Indiana for the upside-down world.
Granted, the Patriots could drastically improve things by bringing in Bill O’Brien as the offensive coordinator in 2023, but his return would make moving on from Jones an even worse decision. Jones was a Pro Bowler as a rookie quarterback, back when the Patriots actually had structure and great play-calling on the offensive side of the ball.
It would be one of the worst moves in franchise history to give up on a first-round draft pick given the circumstances he worked under all year long. And for what? Just so he can take flight in a Shanahan-led offense with better play-calling and a bevy of explosive offensive weapons at his disposal?
No thank you.
It would be irresponsible of the Patriots not to improve the offensive structure and run it back with Jones for at least one more season and see what things look like.
Sure, everyone loves a quick fix, but the grass isn’t any greener with Garoppolo in an offense with bigger problems right now than the quarterback.