Curran: Why a Jimmy Garoppolo reunion could make sense for Patriots originally appeared on NBC Sports Boston

The 2024 New England Patriots are all about fresh starts. New head coach. New head of personnel. A new way of operating under Jerod Mayo and Eliot Wolf after 24 years of Bill Belichick.

But it might make sense to bring back a familiar face at arguably their most important position.

The Athletic’s Vic Tafur recently listed nine potential destinations for veteran quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo, who is expected to be released by the Las Vegas Raiders after receiving a two-game suspension from the NFL for violating its performance-enhancing substances policy. Among those destinations is New England, where Garoppolo spent his first three-plus NFL seasons before a mid-season trade to the San Francisco 49ers in 2017.

The Patriots have options at quarterback. They own the No. 3 pick in the 2024 NFL Draft, which guarantees them the opportunity to draft one of USC’s Caleb Williams, UNC’s Drake Maye and LSU’s Jayden Daniels. They could also pursue a trade for Justin Fields if the Chicago Bears decide to draft Williams.

But suppose New England isn’t enamored with Fields, or sees more value in trading down to stockpile draft assets than taking a QB at No. 3. Would it make sense to pursue Garoppolo as a “bridge” starter or high-level backup?

Our Patriots Insider Tom E. Curran believes so, and laid out the case for a Jimmy G. reunion Monday on NBC Sports Boston’s Arbella Early Edition.

“I love it,” Curran said. “I love it for a few reasons. There is one big drawback to it (the two-game suspension), but when you look at what strengths Jimmy has — and I know there’s cons — he’s accurate, mostly, he gets the ball out so fast, which you kind of need to do. He is a tremendous teammate, which you absolutely have to have. He’s in a ‘prove it’ season. Because of the injuries and because of the performance, he is going to be a low-cost option, which is desirable as well.

“So, all of those things argue in favor of him. Plus, for a team that might have a tough time currying favor with fans, it’s a good story to bring people’s eyeballs back. I think Jimmy Garoppolo could feel right at home here and have a nice summer.”

Garoppolo is a very solid QB when healthy; he went 38-17 over 55 games as a starter in San Francisco and helped the team reach the Super Bowl in 2019, throwing 27 touchdown passes with 13 interceptions over 16 starts. He threw 16 TD passes to just four interceptions over 10 starts in 2022 with a 103.0 passer rating.

Garoppolo’s biggest issue has always been availability, though: The 32-year-old has made more than 10 starts in a season just once over 10 seasons in the NFL. He’ll also miss Weeks 1 and 2 of the 2024 season due to his suspension, which isn’t ideal for a New England team trying to put 4-13 in its distant rearview.

The Patriots may decide Garoppolo isn’t worth the risk and pursue a higher-end QB such as Kirk Cousins or Baker Mayfield in free agency. But even if they draft Maye or Daniels or trade for Fields, there’s some merit to targeting Garoppolo as a backup who can add some experience to the QB room and provide starting-caliber play at the position when called upon — all while adding intrigue to a squad that could use a boost after its worst season in three decades.

Check out Curran’s full take in the video player above.

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