Hannable: Jimmy Garoppolo gone, but not forgotten by Patriots

Ryan Hannable
January 31, 2018 - 11:52 pm

Shanna Lockwood/USA Today Sports

BLOOMINGTON, Minn. — It was going to happen at some point.

Once Tom Brady proved he was just as good at 40 as he was at 39, it was almost a certainty Jimmy Garoppolo would be traded at some point, which he was just before the trade deadline.

Finally, after three and a half seasons, and a few weeks to learn his new playbook in San Francisco, Garoppolo got his chance to start.

Everyone knows how well he did, winning all five of his starts and turning a 1-10 team into a 6-10 team with lots of promise for the future. Over those five games, Garoppolo completed 67 percent of his passes, had two 300-yard games and threw six touchdown passes.

Even though he was on the opposite coast and in the other conference, his former teammates still paid attention.

“You’re happy for him because you see what he does in practice. You saw how good he was and now the world finally sees it,” safety Duron Harmon said Wednesday. “A lot of people said, ‘Well, he’s just on the Patriots. It is the system.’ At the end of the day, he went to another team that won one game before he was there and then won five as a starter. Just super excited for him, super proud of him. And you know he will continue to grow.”

Added offensive tackle Cameron Fleming: “I am immensely happy for him. I think everybody in the world knew he was a good player. I am glad he got to go out there and prove it for a few games.”

Not only did Garoppolo show how talented he was on the field during his time in New England, he was a very popular player in the locker room who players rooted for and wanted to be around.

“So pumped for Jimmy,” offensive lineman Ted Karras said. “What a great guy. We became friends and I am very happy he got a shot.”

“Jimmy was a hard worker and he was fun to be around and worked really hard at his craft,” Chris Hogan added.

Garoppolo is now a free agent, but virtually a lock to stay in San Francisco. Either it will franchise him, which will likely be around $20-22 million next year, or sign him to a long-term deal.

When it comes to a long-term deal, it will be a huge payday for the 26-year-old. The trade to Washington and agreement on a new deal for Alex Smith reported Tuesday night is very good news for Garoppolo. Smith will reportedly average $23.5 million per year on the four-year extension with approximately $70 million guaranteed.

Yes, $70 million guaranteed for Alex freaking Smith, who is 33 years old.

Garoppolo is not only a better quarterback than Smith, but seven years younger, so he’s certainly deserving of a bigger contract.

All the Patriots players believe Garoppolo is deserving of one. After all, the results speak for themselves.

“He went 5-0, didn’t he? I will advocate for my guy,” Karras said. “Hell yeah, I think he [deserves a long-term deal].”

“I think he proved himself very much so in those last five games,” Fleming said. “What else do you want? You went from 1-10 to winning the last five games.”

Added Harmon: “He’s that good. I have seen him in practice for 3 1/2 years. He got better each year and he’s a guy that is going to be a good quarterback in this league.”

Garoppolo’s time will come, and when it does there will be a lot of happy people in New England who knew it all along.

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