By Michael Hurley, CBS Boston
BOSTON (CBS) — Folks who are well-versed in the Boston sports landscape know that it’s an absolute atrocity that the Patriots only got a second-round pick for Jimmy Garoppolo! You can’t give up a franchise quarterback for a second-round pick! MIKE!
Alas, as we all remember, the Patriots sent the ultra-handsome, perfect-stubble-lengthed, poppin’-dimpled, golden-armed James Richard Garoppolo off to the San Francisco 49ers, and they only received a mere second-round pick in return. A true tragedy in Boston sports history.
While the veracity of that overstatement was a bit skewed from the get-go, the midseason trade of Jimmy Garoppolo in 2017 (in conjunction with the 2017 preseason trade of Jacoby Brissett) nevertheless represented a mishandling of assets by the Patriots.
Since then, though, the exact return for Garoppolo has gotten a bit confusing. And that’s putting it lightly.
Last year, after a coin flip determined the Patriots would be getting No. 43 overall in the 2018 draft, the Patriots took that pick and traded it for No. 51 overall and No. 117 overall. Simple enough, right?
Well it wasn’t simple enough for Bill Belichick, who then traded No. 51 for No. 105 and a 2019 second-round pick from Chicago. That swap ensured that the extent of the Garoppolo return would live on for another calendar year.
It wasn’t over, either. Not even close.
The Patriots traded No. 117 overall plus one of their own picks (No. 63) to move up to No. 56 overall in the 2018 draft. There, they drafted cornerback Duke Dawson out of Florida. A real human! Now we’re getting somewhere.
Alas, the complications only grew.
(Feel free to scroll through the next part if you want to avoid feeling nausea, heartburn, indigestion, upset stomach and/or diarrhea.)
On the third day of last year’s draft, the Patriots made another trade. They traded No. 105 for No. 114 and No. 178. The Patriots actually used No. 178 to select linebacker Christian Sam. Another human! Solid. No. 114, though? That was traded to Detroit in exchange for a 2019 third-rounder.
So, the Patriots entered this year’s draft owning two picks that were remnants of trades that stemmed from the Garoppolo trade: No. 56 overall (second-rounder from Chicago) and No. 73 overall (third-rounder from Detroit)
And what’d they do with both of those picks? Naturally, the Patriots traded them.
The Patriots traded No. 56 AND No. 101 to move up and select cornerback Joejuan Williams at No. 45 overall, after a run of cornerbacks went off the board in the second round.
As for No. 73, the Patriots traded that pick along with No. 205 overall to Chicago in exchange for No. 87 and No. 162 overall. The Patriots used the 87th pick to select running back Damien Harris. That’s four people now.
Oh, also in that trade? The Patriots picked up a 2020 fourth-round pick from Chicago.
The Garoppolo trade lives on for another year.
With the No. 162 pick acquired in that deal with Chicago, the Patriots … traded it. They packed No. 162 with No. 97, and they traded them to the Rams for Nos. 101 and 133. For those of you keeping score at home, yes, that is the same No. 101 which the Patriots traded to the Rams in order to move up and select Williams.
We’re now dealing the same pick twice, folks. That’s where we’re at in this ordeal. Pick No. 101? It’s going this way and that, people. And then it’s going that way and this. It’s like we’re at Centre Court at Wimbledon, watching the picks being volleyed about.
(My head hurts and I can’t see straight.)
So, with 101 overall, the Patriots selected tackle Yodny Cajuste out of West Virginia. At last, an end to the road for one tentacle of this growing trade organism.
And with 133, the Patriots (please make a pick, please make a pick, please make a pick) …. made a pick! Quarterback Jarrett Stidham! Auburn! Hallelujah! Another concluding point for the long trade lineage.
So concluded The Great Jimmy Garoppolo Trade Examination Of 2018/19, mercifully. Unfortunately, it’s not completely expired yet, as the Patriots managed to pick up a 2020 fourth-round pick from Chicago in the midst of all that swapping. And if I were a betting man, I’d lay down some money for that pick to get traded next year, just because that’s the way things seem to be going here.
In any event, the point is this:
Instead of being able to say “the Patriots essentially got Player X in return for Jimmy G.”, you have to bust out a pencil and paper and maybe even an abacus while trying to calculate a rough explanation of what the Patriots fetched in return for eight weeks of the rights of their backup quarterback in 2017.
Speaking candidly, I am someone whose job allows me to spend as much time as necessary to find a finite, absolute answer to this question. Most people don’t have that luxury; I assume they have to crunch numbers or lead meetings or (shudder) create PowerPoint presentations. A frightening thought. Yet even with the freedom to really explore the trade history of everything involving the pick acquired from trading Garoppolo, it has proven to be very challenging, mentally taxing, and frankly a bit dizzying.
But, as best as I can tell you, here’s the long and short — well, maybe not the short — of the complete picture of the Jimmy Garoppolo trade.
PATRIOTS TRADE AWAY:
–No. 51 in 2018
–No. 105 in 2018
–No. 117 in 2018
–No. 73 in 2019
–No. 97 in 2019
–No. 162 in 2019
CB Duke Dawson (No. 56 overall, 2018)
LB Christian Sam (No. 178 overall, 2018)
RB Damien Harris (No. 87 overall, 2019)
T Yodny Cajuste (No. 101 overall, 2019)
QB Jarrett Stidham (No. 133 overall, 2019)
2020 Fourth-Round Pick From Chicago
That is “as complete a picture as possible” because frankly it’s a bit murky to apply specific value to exact picks in various trades. And it’s not entirely accurate to say, for example, that the Patriots got Jarrett Stidham in the return package for Garoppolo, because in actuality, a series of trades across two years led to the Patriots’ ownership of the 133rd overall pick in 2019. Plus, all of those picks the Patriots traded away turned into players who were drafted by other teams, so if you really want to obfuscate the matter, you could go ahead and dissect each one of those picks — or, heavens forbid, any subsequent trades made by other teams with those picks.
I’m not doing that, though. I simply refuse.
(If only life could be as easy in this case as it is in the Josh Rosen deal. The Dolphins traded two picks for Rosen. One of those has already been used by Arizona with wide receiver Andy Isabella, and the Cardinals can put a nice bow on the deal by actually using their fifth-round pick next year. Easy peasy. Simple as pie. Must be nice.)
As for the accuracy of the above conclusion? I stand by it. Mostly. If some of it is slightly less than 100 percent accurate? Well, I believe that was kind of the point. There’s no way and there never will be a way to exactly nail down the return the Patriots received for trading away Garoppolo.
The remaining question — which will go unanswered — is if Belichick did all of this on purpose, so as not to have an easy answer to the question of whether the Patriots won or lost the trade. Certainly, if Belichick was really high on Garoppolo, to the point where he would keep him through 2017 in case age tackled Tom Brady midseason, then the theory holds some weight. But … the answer is most likely not. Belichick, if you haven’t noticed, loves to make a lot of trades during the NFL Draft. It’s kind of his thing. So the fact that he traded a bunch of these picks is pretty much in line with the way he operates regularly. Nevertheless, the theory will continue to live on for another year.
Now, if you don’t mind me, I’ll be banging my head off a cinder block wall for a while, until I either feel better or knock myself out. Whichever comes first.
See you next year, when we’ll do this dance all over again, after the Patriots trade that fourth-rounder from Chicago and turn it into 11 more picks.