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Perfect Pair: Houston Texans and Garopollo
“Oh, yes. They make terrific pair. They went together like lamb and tuna fish. Maybe you like spaghetti and meatball? You more comfortable with that analogy?” Ahhhh yes, a Big Daddy quote to start this article. Somebody bet me I couldn’t do it and have it make sense. Boom.
Only downhill from here, but I’ll give it a go anyway! Jimmy Garoppolo will be a hot name until he gets traded this offseason. I say that, because he’s going to get traded. I know the Patriots will publically come out and say they are happy with the situation and don’t want to move him. What else do you want them to say? “We really want to move him because we’ll lose him for nothing next year!” Not. Gonna. Happen. You won’t hear a peep out of the building about trading him and they’ll deny until they can get a deal done, unless of course they want you to hear things. But let’s be honest. They’re going to trade him because they’re smart.
The Pats were smart enough to trade Jamie Collins for a 2017 3rd during the season and actually improve! They wanted a pick this year instead of 2018 because of the depth of the NFL draft. They think ahead. They will likely draft another QB this year to compete with Jacoby Brissett for the backup QB spot, if they move Garopollo. I believe they’ll follow that same strategy with Jimmy Garoppolo. They drafted him to either take over to Tom Brady or as a trade chip they could use to strengthen to team around Brady to get another Super Bowl. With Brady showing no signs of slowing down, they’ll get value for him. What’s proper value? We’re going to start with a 2017 1st round pick and a conditional pick in 2018. The Eagles and Vikings basically set the market for this deal. The Patriots have leverage over anybody they negotiate with because there is a market for Garoppolo. There wasn’t really a market for Bradford, but Minnesota had to pay up because he was the starter for the Eagles and it was 8 days before the season started. I believe the price will be similar, if not a little bit more of a return for the Patriots.
Who are the suitors? The 49ers, Browns, and Bears have been mentioned. The Bills and Jets could both use him, but that’s not going to happen. If it does, there should be immediate red flags for everybody that the Patriots would be willing to trade Garoppolo within the division. The best fit for both parties in my opinion is the Houston Texans.
We’re all acutely aware that Brock Osweiler is not the answer. Most people think Houston is tied to Osweiler because of his contract. While it was a bad decision to give him the contract, it’s not as bad as people think. Yes, the Texans are stuck with Brock this year. But, they can cut him next season (2018) and save 15 million with 6 million in dead money. In 2019 they will save 17 million and only have 3 million in dead money. The contract will NOT get in the way of a trade for Garopollo. Next season, Garopollo will count a miniscule $1.1 million against the cap. Houston will cut Brandon Weeden and save $1.625 million and keep Tom Savage on the roster at $690k. Believe it or not, Houston will actually SAVE money if they traded for Garopollo in 2017 and cut Weeden. Save money?!?!?! That makes no sense!!!
I haven’t mentioned a contract extension on purpose. It will have to come after the 2017 season. If Houston can’t get a deal done, they can apply the Franchise Tag. Clowney will be playing under his 5th year option, so that extension could come the same season or the next and won’t be in the way. Houston already has franchise qb money built into their cap, so the front office has already crossed that bridge.
Finally, when we look at Houston, we see a team that can play elite defense and is only missing the most important position in sports, quarterback. If Houston got the right quarterback, they have a few seasons with players like JJ Watt, Jadeveon Clowney, Deandre Hopkins, Lamar Miller, and Whitney Mercilus all entering the prime of their careers. Garopollo would fit seamlessly into Bill O’ Brien’s system. He has a quick release and can be extremely accurate. He studied under the best and knows exactly what it takes to win. Is giving up a the 25 pick and a 2018 2nd round pick too much? I don’t think so and neither should Houston. The time for Houston to make a run is right now. The Colts are looking at a retool and the Titans, while they are coming on, aren’t quite there yet. We have no idea what kind of product Jacksonville will put out. Houston is already the favorite in the NFC South. They can cement that status by making a deal for the Franchise Quarterback they thought they got last year. This is the opportunity to right that wrong. The question is, will they pay what they have to beat out Cleveland, San Francisco, and the Bears for Garopollo? If Houston can make the trade happen, it will put all parties involved in a winning situation. If they don’t, they’ll be looking at another early exit from the playoffs, no matter how good the defense is.