When the New England Patriots announced that they were resigning quarterback Cam Newton roughly two weeks ago, everyone was shocked.
That move left the sports world wondering what Bill Belichick was planning and led to plenty of speculation.
And despite that move, the Patriots reportedly still have their eye on adding one quarterback in particular.
Last season was an utter disaster for the Patriots.
After Tom Brady decided to move on and numerous key players opted to sit out the season due to COVID, New England suffered their worst season since Bill Belichick became their head coach more than 20 years ago.
Cam Newton was brought in to try and help fill the Brady void, but he proved that his best days are long behind him.
So after the team decided to resign Newton this offseason, many speculated that Belichick was still looking for another quarterback.
There were reports that the team was looking to be a major player in the NFL Draft for the first time under Belichick by looking to move up in the draft order to snag one of this year’s top quarterback prospects.
However, with the San Francisco 49ers trading for the third overall pick, the chances of the Patriots being able to trade up the draft order have gone out the window.
At the same time, that move has opened up another opportunity – one that Belichick and the Patriots have reportedly been high on for some time now.
With the 49ers intentions to draft a quarterback now abundantly clear, that leaves starting quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo seemingly available for a trade.
That’s the same Jimmy Garoppolo that was previously drafted by Bill Belichick to potentially serve as the heir apparent to Tom Brady before Patriots ownership stepped in to ship Garoppolo to San Francisco in order to keep Brady happy and in New England as long as they could.
And since Brady departed for Tampa Bay, the Patriots have been rumored to have interest in figuring out a way to get Garoppolo back.
For the first time, though, it seems like a real possibility that a deal could happen between the two teams, especially after ESPN’s Diana Russini reported on Wednesday that the Patriots still have “considerable interest” in bringing Garoppolo back.
“I’ve talked to a bunch of people in the league about this, and enough people I trust have told me that the Patriots’ interest in Jimmy Garoppolo has been consistent,” Russini reported.
However, one team’s desire to make a deal happen isn’t enough in the NFL.
As Russini went on to note, the 49ers have to be very interested in moving Garoppolo as well, and the Patriots have to be able, and willing, to pay the price San Francisco would require to make the deal happen.
“This has got to be more San Francisco willing to make the deal and, of course, New England having the right amount of picks and money to get Jimmy to bring him back,” Russini said. “And that’s really what it’s going to come down to.”
Quite frankly, this is one of the only moves Bill Belichick has at his disposal to try and ensure that the 2021 season is better than 2020 was for his team.
It’s going to be difficult for the Patriots to ever have a better opportunity than this to land a potential franchise quarterback, seeing as even if they continue to not be the Patriots of old, a Belichick coached team is almost never going to be bad enough to earn a top draft pick.
But, as Russini indicated, the 49ers also have to be willing to part with Garoppolo.
As the 49ers are almost guaranteed to draft a quarterback with the third overall pick, it would seem the team is ready to move on from Garoppolo, especially with the amount of money they’ll soon have to pay him for the upcoming season.
Only time will tell how this all unfolds.
It’s still difficult to envision a world in which New England doesn’t aggressively pursue bringing back a quarterback they once drafted in the first round.
Sports with Balls will keep you up-to-date on any developments to this ongoing story.