Michael Lombardi said the Patriots don’t need to trade Jimmy Garoppolo after the season. (Robert Deutsch/USA Today Sports)
Former Patriots executive and current Fox NFL analyst Michael Lombardi joined Dennis & Callahan on Friday to talk all things Patriots, especially Jimmy Garoppolo. To hear the interview, go to the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page.
Lombardi felt Garoppolo looked good Thursday night in his second preseason game against the Bears where he went 16-for-21 with 181 yards and a touchdown.
“I think he looked like he was making progress,” Lombardi said. “He only had five incompletions. He threw a couple of balls he would like to have back that the Bears had the opportunity to intercept, but they didn’t make the play on. It’s a growing process for Jimmy. Jimmy has to get comfortable and there is going to be an evolution of the offense around Jimmy. It’s not going to be the Tom Brady offense because only Tom Brady is going to run that offense. Jimmy Garoppolo is going to run an offense that suits his skill set.
“That’s what makes the Patriots so successful, is to be able to take what a player can do an utilize their skill set at the best they can. I think Jimmy will do that. Jimmy is going to keep getting better and better as the year goes along. I think he was very confident last night. You could see when the ball is in his hands and he knows where he’s going with the football, he’s very confident and a quick-decison thinker.”
Garoppolo will start the first four games and if he plays well, many feel the Patriots will trade him after the season as he still has one year left on his rookie deal and Brady is signed through 2019. Lombardi doesn’t think that is a guarantee because of how valuable quarterbacks are in the NFL.
“I don’t think they have to do anything,” he said. “Certainly there will be a lot of offers for Jimmy if that situation plays out the way you described it. Quarterbacks are the most important thing to have in football. There are franchises all over that don’t have one and are searching for one. If you happen to have two good ones, you better keep them and find a way to keep them. I think that is the secret to the Patriots.
“If Jimmy has a chance to be really good, and he can be who everyone in the building thinks he can be, they need to keep him because Tom is 39 years old, he’s not going to play until he’s 50. You have to have a quarterback and they have spent a lot of time developing Jimmy and a lot of time working on him. I would be very cognizant of that and I wouldn’t rush to judgment on that.”
Lombardi brought up the team potentially signing him to an incentive based deal to keep him around until Brady retires.
“There are a lot of ways to work around that,” Lombardi said. “You can sign him to a contract with incentives to build into a starter and what is the market value for him? Brock Osweiler got over $16 million a year and he started very few games. We know the quarterback market is going to be really lucrative. Kirk Cousins couldn’t even get a deal with the Redskins and have to sign a franchise tender. We know deals are going to lucrative if they play well and I think that is what will come down. If Jimmy plays well, he controls a lot of this situation. If he doesn’t play well, the Patriots control it.”