What Cam Newton Signing with the Patriots means for Jimmy Garoppolo and the 49ers

Grant Cohn

The Patriots recently signed quarterback Cam Newton to a cheap one-year contract. What could this move possibly mean for the 49ers?

At first, it seems like nothing. But it could mean the Patriots have kept the door open to trade for Jimmy Garoppolo in 2021.

It’s hard to ever know what really goes on with the Patriots, but ESPN’s Seth Wickersham reported that Bill Belichick never wanted to trade Garoppolo to the 49ers in the first place, and was “furious” and “demoralized” when ownership traded him anyway.

And the rumor I heard this offseason is the Patriots offered the 49ers a first-round pick for Garoppolo, and the 49ers turned them down. Which seems plausible, when you consider how long the Patriots took to sign Newton. They certainly were in no rush to get him. He seems like an insurance policy.

Here’s how I read the Patriots:

Belichick probably wants to prove he can develop another Super-Bowl-winning quarterback, probably wants to prove his legacy isn’t just a product of Tom Brady.

And Belichick did not develop Newton -- he developed Jarrett Stidham, the Patriots current starter who has thrown just four career passes, and Garoppolo.

The Patriots probably will give Stidham the first crack at the starting quarterback job next season. If he fails, they probably will bench him and play Newton, then make another attempt to trade for Garoppolo in 2021, when they’ll have roughly $90 million in cap space.

Garoppolo is on an expensive year-to-year deal with the 49ers. Next year, the 49ers probably either will extend his deal or trade him -- one or the other. The current deal is too expensive. And if they trade him, the Patriots probably will be the trade partner.

And the 49ers could replace him with Aaron Rodgers, who no longer seems particularly welcome in Green Bay, and will have zero guaranteed money in his contract after 2020. Or the 49ers could use the pick they receive from New England, and trade up for one of the top rookie quarterbacks in the draft next year.

Whatever the 49ers decide to do about Garoppolo, it seems the Patriots will patiently wait for them to make up their minds.

Newton changes nothing.

Comments (4)
No. 1-4

I can see the Patriots making a run at Jimmy G again after this season. He was Belichicks guy. This 1 year deal they made for Cam seems like a stopping gap before they make their move for their QB of the future.


Hadn't really thought about Rogers situation in GB would be weird to see him anywhere else. But I also thought that about Tom Brady.


What about Mullins?


They have made up their minds. They want to keep Garoppolo.