Let me start out by saying I have no idea if Jimmy Garoppolo is a franchise quarterback. Truth be told, there are probably very few individuals on the planet who are equipped which such invaluable information. Those people include, but may or may not be limited to Bill Belichick, Jimmy Garoppolo, Jimmy Garoppolo’s parents, Mary Kay Cabot, Joe Banner, and Jerry the King Lawler.
And with all apologies to Mary Kay, do those experts in their given field really even know. Could Belichick say one way or another that he knows Garoppolo’s two-game sample size is large enough to indicate whether or not he can be given the keys to an NFL franchise? Probably not. One thing we do know is that Garoppolo has become a more controversial subject than Janeane Garofalo, who I also cannot rule out with 100 percent certainty that she isn’t a franchise QB (I’m so desperate, at this point I’ll try anything).
In the last few weeks, I’ve heard caller after caller shoot down any trade rumors involving Garoppolo based on a multitude of reasons, almost all of which are easily debunk-able using sound logic and my already made-up convictions. So feel free to print out this piece, carry it in your briefcase which is hopefully more secure than Kyle Shanahan’s, and feel free to bust it out at the right time at your Super Bowl party when timid Browns fans reject QB solutions around every turn.
MYTH #5 YOU CAN’T TAKE A PATRIOT BACKUP QB
This argument, which is the most likely to come up before Phil Simm’s even gets the chance to wax poetic on the Super Bowl coin toss, is also the easiest to shoot down. While it’s true Patriots backup quarterbacks have never been the toast of the town — unless that town is Fairview Park and the bar you’re doing the toasting is at Stampers (RIP 1998-2016) — that doesn’t mean Garoppolo stinks. The Patriots have had arguably the best QB in the history of the game, and thus have never really had motivation to grab a QB high in the draft.
Before drafting Garoppolo in 2014, here’s the comprehensive list of QBs selected by the Pats and the corresponding round they were taken: Ryan Mallett 3rd Round, Zac Robinson 7th round, Kevin O’Connell 3rd Round, Matt Cassel 7th Round, Kliff Kingsbury 6th Round. Clearly, QBs were not a priority in the draft for Belichick. That was until 2014, when they thought highly enough of Garoppolo to take him 62nd overall. That was a dramatic change in philosophy for the Patriots organization, who probably sought some insurance for an aging Tom Brady and also found a player who likely would have been a first round choice had he gone to a school people had actually heard of.
Also past performance does not guarantee future results. Take for instance my family, which didn’t exactly place a premium on higher education. The Limas were a proud people, but nobody was betting on this particular Lima to make it out of high school given the numerous run-ins with the law and litany of in-school suspension time served in middle school and high school But here I am, a graduate of The Ohio State University and also hanging on my wall is a Master’s degree from the prestigious S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University. Yes, the last line was included solely to validate my ridiculously costly college debt.
MYTH #4 YOU CAN’T DEAL WITH THE DEVIL
This one is an interesting one coming from Browns fans, who have done nothing but heap praise on the new organization for dealing with the Devil. Have we already forgotten the acquisition of Jamie Collins and the subsequent contract extension that he signed? Chandler Jones seemed to work out well for the Cardinals right?
MYTH #3 BELICHICK WOULDN’T DEAL GAROPPOLO IF HE WAS ANY GOOD
On Thursday, we talked to Boston media personality Michael Holley who told us he thinks Tom Brady plays at least 3 more years. You really think Garoppolo (the 62nd overall pick in 2014) is cool with patiently sitting three more years, in addition to the three years he’s already been chained to the sidelines. Not to mention the fact he’ll be a free agent after next season and wants to get paid. You think Belichick, who jettisons players mid-season ahead of a contract dispute, will want that headache next season? And who knows if Bill will even want to coach one down of football without his Hall of Fame QB.
MYTH #2 GAROPPOLO ISN’T WORTH TWO DRAFT PICKS, INCLUDING A BROWNS’ FIRST ROUNDER
I should cut Browns fans some slack here, they’ve gone 20-plus years without a legitimate “franchise” quarterback and probably wouldn’t be able to identity one if they ran over ’em with Mike Holmgren’s golf cart. I can’t stress enough what a game-changer a stud QB would be for the Browns. They’re worth their weight in Manziel’s moneyphone. You would give up a first round pick to draft a quarterback right? So why wouldn’t you trade a first pound pick (and change) to get one?
Think the Falcons regret taking Matt Ryan third overall in the 1st round? Or the Ravens for taking Joe Flacco 15 picks later? How about the Packers for taking Aaron Rodgers 24th overall? What about the Giants who won two Super Bowls after grabbing Eli manning 1st overall, or the Steelers who won twice with Ben Roethlisberger 10 picks later? How about the Panthers, who went to the Super Bowl five years after drafting Cam Newton No. 1 overall? What about the Buccaneers or the Titans, who revived their franchises with Jameis Winston (No. 1) and Marcus Mariota (No. 2). Think the Eagles aren’t thrilled knowing they think they have their QB of the future (No. 2).
Not only is Jimmy Garoppolo worth the 12th pick and whatever else it might take. You would be hard-pressed to not give your first if you honestly thought he could be you’re QB for the next 10 years.
MYTH #1 A TWO-GAME SAMPLE SIZE ISN’T ENOUGH EVIDENCE
Oh really? But a ZERO-game sample size is all the evidence you would ever need to use up a coveted, high draft pick on every other rookie player in the NFL? That’s the silliest of the silly and if you trust your organization to evaluate a quarterback — and if you don’t, then it probably doesn’t matter because the entire organization is doomed from the start anyway — then why wouldn’t you trust their decision-making on a QB who’s actually spent time under center for an actual NFL team.
Yes, it was only two games, but you have to admit, they were an impressive two games. Garoppolo was under the magnifying glass in the opener against the Cardinals and delivered in a big way, completing 24 of his 33 passes for 264 yards and a touchdown. He played mistake-free football with a QB rating of 106.1 while the Patriots offense did not miss much of a beat in the win. The following week with some tape on him, he shredded the Dolphins high-priced defense and connected on 18 of 26 passes including three touchdowns/no interceptions. He delivered a QB rating of 135.4 and did so without Rob Gronkowski in the lineup. Here’s a video of every throw he made in that game.
With all that said, it’s up to the Browns to make a determination once and for all on whether Jimmy G is worth the hype. And after misses on RG3 and Cody Kessler, their due to nail the next one right? RIGHT?