How A Trade For Jimmy Garoppolo Will Impact Patriots Draft
No one knows what Bill Belichick will do before or during the NFL Draft this week.
Perhaps Nike the dog has some good inside NFL betting info. But he’s not barking.
That single truth might be the most valuable piece of information for bettors and fans who are trying to handicap what – if anything – the New England Patriots will do with the No. 15 overall pick.
With Round 1 of the draft set to commence on Thursday night in Cleveland, there remains even more uncertainty as to which quarterback will take the first snap of the 2021 season for the Patriots. No matter what you hear, beware of the noise.
In the past 36 hours, various reports have the Patriots:
- Dealing for San Francisco QB Jimmy Garoppolo
- Moving up from No. 15
- Moving down from No. 15
- Drafting Alabama QB Mac Jones at No. 15
If only we were clever enough to make up this stuff. But we just pass these along and you can decide how to wager.
Breaking Down Patriots Draft Options
Let’s take a look at each of the potential options for the Patriots and see if there are any money-making opportunities.
Patriots Trade For Jimmy Garoppolo
This appears the most-likely scenario for several reasons. Belichick has been enamored with Garoppolo since picking the tall, dark and handsome hurler out of Eastern Illinois in the second round of the 2014 draft. At that time, Belichick famously mentioned Tom Brady’s age (he was a spry 37) and contract status. Well, things didn’t turn out as Belichick planned. Brady beat Father Time. He has won four Super Bowls since that draft and threw for 505 yards while losing a fifth. The Patriots/Belichick were forced to deal Garoppolo at the 2017 trade deadline when it became apparent that team owner Robert Kraft was not going to sink $50 million per year into the QB position when only one QB can play at a time.
The problem for Belichick is that he – perhaps out of spite – undervalued Garoppolo when he was traded to San Francisco. Belichick received a second-round pick. Therefore, he cannot save face and give up a first-rounder for Garoppolo in return four years later.
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The 49ers have reportedly moved closer toward taking a second-rounder for Garoppolo, according to NBC’s Peter King. The 49ers will absorb a $26.4 million cap hit if they keep Garoppolo. And that comes after dealing up to the No. 3 spot – presumably to take a quarterback. It makes no sense for the 49ers to keep Garoppolo after making that deal with the Dolphins to move up and pay him $26.4 million when it is clear he is not their long-term option at QB.
The Patriots and Garoppolo could easily rework that number to fit into under their remaining 2021 cap and ensure Garoppolo makes it up and then some on the back end.
BEST BET: That the Patriots could emerge with Garoppolo AND their first-round pick would help Belichick restore some of his “Genius” luster. If the Patriots have their QB situation resolved, look for New England to go with a defensive player – either LB Micah Parsons, CB Patrick Surtain or CB Jaycee Horn. Surtain is +125 to go over 10.5 at DraftKings. Parsons is -103 to go over 13.5 and Horn is -112 to go over 12.5. If you want some hidden value, you might want to consider Horn at +225 to be the first overall cornerback chosen ahead of Surtain (-350) at BetMGM. The Patriots have taken an offensive lineman in their past seven drafts, so if a top-ranked o-lineman is available at 15, the Patriots may very revert to form there, as well.
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Patriots Trade Up
Several teams have been making calls about getting into the top 10 of next week’s NFL Draft — including the #Patriots, who could have their eyes on Ohio State QB Justin Fields if he begins to slide. @gmfb @nflnetwork pic.twitter.com/GjJazJXZQp— Tom Pelissero (@TomPelissero) April 26, 2021
Moving up to get one of the top four QBs not named Trevor Lawrence would make the most sense. The Patriots are not alone in wanting to do this. Washington needs a QB and could jump ahead of New England. The Broncos are at No. 9 and remain less-than-fully-committed to Drew Lock. New England has the No. 15 pick in the first round to offer potential suitors, along with the No. 46 pick in the second round. The Patriots can also dangle one-time defensive player of the year Stephon Gilmore, who has one more year left on a five-year, $65 million deal and is not in New England’s long-term picture.
BEST BET: The best value on the board remains Fields at +700 to go to the 49ers with the No. 3 pick at DraftKings. Bettors who believe in Fields and who think the Jones hype has gotten out of hand can grab Jones going later than the the third choice (No. 3.5 pick) at +205 at FanDuel. The same site has Fields at -198 going under the No. 8.5 pick. That’s a bit steep but still offers more than a 50% return on something that appears more and more likely.
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Patriots Trade Down
Never say “never” when it comes to Belichick. He traded out of the first round last season and TV viewers were left with a live feed of Nike when it came time to make the first pick of the post-Tom Brady Era in New England. Moving down this year without solidifying the QB position makes no sense. The Patriots have 10 picks in this draft, so moving down won’t deliver much benefit that isn’t already there.
BEST BET: Don’t hold your breath – unless there is a deal for Garoppolo.
Patriots Stay Put at 15
Very strong expectation among other GM's and throughout the industry that the 49ers will make major effort to move Jimmy Garoppolo before or during the draft. Timing isn't great with 5 QBs about to go in 1st round, but Jimmy G's future there now seen as bleak— Jason La Canfora (@JasonLaCanfora) April 27, 2021
That’s probably the least palatable option. No one wants to draft 15th in the first round – unless you were able to deal up from 16. You can be sure if the Patriots don’t make a move or deal for Garoppolo – we will be told that sticking with No. 15 was indeed Belichick’s preference all along. Some mock drafts have Jones sliding down the board to 15. But that seems unlikely.
BEST BET: The moves discussed above under the “deal for Garoppolo” scenario hold here given that many of the best defensive players will be available at that spot. And, as mentioned previously, the Patriots remain a steal over 9 wins (-143) at DraftKings, no matter how the quarterback situation is resolved.
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History No Guide To Predict Patriots Pick
Never forget Tom Brady's Draft Report:— CBS Sports HQ (@CBSSportsHQ) April 27, 2021
▻ Poor build/Skinny
▻ Lacks physical stature/strength
▻ Lacks mobility/ability to avoid the rush
▻ Lacks strong arm
▻ Can’t drive the ball downfield
▻ Doesn’t throw tight spiral
▻ System-type player
▻ Easily knocked down @TomBrady pic.twitter.com/qLTLLwOrDz
You can’t rely on history when considering your wagers this time. Belichick has never used a first-round pick to take a quarterback as head coach in Cleveland or New England.
Of course, he never had to use a first-round pick on a QB.
When he took over the Browns in 1991, the team needed a defensive rebuild. Belichick relied on veterans like Vinny Testaverde, Bernie Kosar and Mike Tomczak to quarterback his offense.
For the entirety of Robert Kraft’s reign as owner – starting in 1994 – through the 2019 season, the Patriots were set at the quarterback position come Draft Day. Belichick took over the Patriots as head coach before the 2000 season.
Drew Bledsoe was chosen by Bill Parcells with the No. 1 overall pick in the 1993 Draft. Bledsoe was New England’s QB of choice until an injury knocked sidelined him during the third game of the 2001 season. Tom Brady (the No. 199 overall pick in 2000) took over the Patriots offense that day – in a loss to the Jets – and was pegged as the team’s Week 1 starter for the next 18 seasons.
That run ended in 2020, when Brady bolted for Tampa Bay. The Patriots finally settled on Cam Newton as their QB of choice in July. Newton’s first year in New England was a dud. He went 7-8 as a starter while Brady was leading the Buccaneers to a Super Bowl victory.
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Patriots (Finally) Look At QB Position
Robert Kraft loved the Patriots' free-agency spending spree. ?? pic.twitter.com/BRSQ7Mw4rl— theScore (@theScore) March 22, 2021
Bledsoe and Brady were the gift that kept giving on Draft Day. A 27-season run of stability at quarterback meant that the the Patriots never had to chase a starting QB through free agency, were never forced to trade up in the draft to get someone along the lines of Justin Fields from Ohio State or Mac Jones, and never gave up those oh-so-precious picks for a veteran.
Belichick committed an NFL-single-season record $156.9 million in guaranteed money on a stable of free agents in March. Jonnu Smith and Hunter Henry solidified the tight end position. Wide receivers Kendrick Bourne and Nelson Agholor will now lead a group that no longer includes recently retired Julian Edelman. The Patriots also quietly locked up their most productive offensive player in 2020 – kicker Nick Folk – to a one-year deal.
In addition, Belichick restocked his defense with the lines of Kyle Van Noy, Jalen Mills, Henry Anderson, Matthew Judon and Davon Godchaux. Deatrich Wise, Adam Butler and J.C. Jackson were resigned. Dont’a Hightower will be back after missing 2020 due to a COVID-19 opt out. Safety Patrick Chung retired.
With all of these moves, it’s hard to imagine the Patriots’ first choice is to enter the season with either Newton or Jarrett Stidham as their starter. Of course, there was even a report this week at the team has become enamored with Stidham, who couldn't break into the second string last season.
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