Report: Garoppolo is Patriots' top QB choice for 2021 originally appeared on NBC Sports Boston
If Bill Belichick had his way, the New England Patriots would begin the 2021 season with the same quarterback who started Week 1 of the 2016 season.
That's according to The Boston Sports Journal's Greg Bedard, who reports that San Francisco 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo is atop the Patriots' QB wish list this offseason.
"From what I gather from talking to people this week, over the past week, Jimmy Garoppolo still is far and away their Plan A," Bedard said this week on his Patriots Podcast. "That, if they had to draw it up, exactly the optimal situation for the Patriots for this coming season, it's Jimmy G. coming back here."
New England's reported outlook makes sense. Belichick selected Garoppolo in the second round of the 2014 NFL Draft as Tom Brady's heir apparent and only traded him in 2017 because Brady continued to excel past age 40.
But the Patriots landing Jimmy G. is contingent on the 49ers trading him, and general manager John Lynch recently insisted Garoppolo will be San Francisco's starter in 2021 assuming he's healthy.
That's a big assumption, however -- Garoppolo has missed 23 games over the last three seasons due to a torn ACL and a high ankle sprain -- and there have been rumors that the Niners are considering other options like Houston Texans star Deshaun Watson and New York Jets QB Sam Darnold.
If the 49ers entertain trading Garoppolo, the Patriots possibly could land the 29-year-old without giving up a first-round pick, as our Phil Perry reported recently. New England would take on Garoppolo's injury risk, but he'd still be a better option than running it back with Cam Newton or signing a veteran free agent like Ryan Fitzpatrick or Jameis Winston.
Long story short: Patriots fans should keep a close eye on the 49ers' offseason, because if Garoppolo hits the trade market, it sounds like Belichick will pounce.