The first two weeks of NFL free agency were dominated by the players the Patriots imported during a record-setting spending spree.
Since they paused their free-agent frenzy, attention has shifted to someone they haven’t brought aboard, but reportedly have interest in acquiring, Jimmy Garoppolo. The hope around some parts of New England is that San Francisco’s decision to trade up to No. 3 in the draft and grab a new starting quarterback next month meant the 49ers would part with the former Pats second-round pick.
But during a 40-minute press conference Monday, 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan sounded like someone intent on keeping his incumbent quarterback unless another team knocks San Francisco’s socks off.
“That’s accurate with every player on the team, probably including myself,” Shanahan said.
“We’re in a situation when you bring in a rookie quarterback, to me, it’s always better especially on the team that you have, if you’ve got a veteran starter there already who you like that you’re comfortable winning with. That’s usually the direction you want to go, and not throw someone else out into the fire until they’re fully ready. That’s the situation we’re at right now. It’s going to be hard to find a quarterback that gives us a better chance to win than Jimmy right now, especially even a rookie in the draft.”
The jury’s out on whether the Pats would even be better having Garoppolo under center instead of Cam Newton or someone they could draft at No. 15 (if they don’t trade up). One former Patriots player said Monday he’s heard rumblings about doubts in Garoppolo’s ability to stay on the field.
“Let me tell you something,” former Pats tight end and co-host of The Greg Hill Show on WEEI in Boston Jermaine Wiggins said. “My sources here tell me, and I didn’t really want to say this, but they used to look at Jimmy G. a little sideways, like he was kind of a little bit Mr. Glass. And I’m not talking about the Sam Jackson character. Where they were like, ‘can’t really depend on him, can’t stay on the field.’”
Should the Patriots pass on a trade for Garoppolo, they could turn their attention to drafting a quarterback. A lot of experts have Mac Jones from Alabama landing in New England. But there’s no telling if he’ll make it to 15. Even Shanahan is looking into Jones, attending his pro day Tuesday. (Shanahan said he was being sure not to tip his hand about who the Niners want at No. 3, and that he would also attend Ohio State quarterback Justin Fields’ pro day.)
Meanwhile, Bill Belichick stayed out of the quarterback fray Monday, attending the University of Miami’s pro day.
Perhaps he was checking up on edge rushers Greg Rousseau and Jaelan Phillips, or perhaps he was just soaking in some sun.