Several high-profile NFL trades went down before the deadline, with the Patriots and Panthers trading away big-name assets. New England sent quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo to San Francisco for a 2018 second-round pick Monday night, while Carolina sent wide receiver Kelvin Benjamin to Buffalo for third- and seventh-round picks Tuesday afternoon.
We’ll start with the Patriots. Why did they trade Garoppolo? Because they believe Tom Brady will be their quarterback for the next two, three, or four years? Or because they don’t think as highly of Garoppolo as perhaps other teams around the league?
“Man, I think that’s a tough one because I don’t think anybody really knows,” CBS Sports NFL color analyst Adam Archuleta said on CBS Sports Radio’s Tiki and Tierney. “Unless you’re a part of New England’s organization, does anybody know how good Garoppolo is? We just kind of assume he’s the answer to everybody’s prayers. I think you can certainly count on Tom Brady playing pretty well for the next few years. Is it really worth stashing a guy on your roster and coming up with contract extensions and that kind of stuff? I got to tell you: I have no idea. I have no idea if he’s going to be any good for the 49ers, but I think it’s going to be fun to watch.”
Of course, if the Patriots were going to part ways with Garoppolo, why not retain Jacoby Brissett? New England traded Brissett to Indianapolis in September.
“I think the Patriots just have a lot of confidence in what they do,” Archuleta said. “They have a lot of confidence in the way they’ve been able to train quarterbacks. You go back to (Matt) Cassel, they won with Brissett when Brady was suspended, they won with Garoppolo. I think it’s just a matter of, ‘What can we do now to make our team better? We’ll worry about the future when we get there.’”
And, who knows? The Patriots might target a quarterback in the draft. Or they might be confident that Brady will not succumb to injury or age in the next couple of seasons.
“Why not ride Tom Brady?” Archuleta asked. “It doesn’t look like he’s slowing down now. Why worry about the quarterback? Why worry about (extending) Garoppolo? They’re just confident in the way they do business, and so far, it’s worked out for them.”
Benjamin, meanwhile, was traded after two-and-a-half modestly success seasons in Carolina. He had 1,008 yards and nine touchdowns in 2014, missed the 2015 season due to injury, and had 941 yards and seven touchdowns in 2016. This year, he had 32 catches for 475 yards and two touchdowns.
“I don’t know what Carolina’s motivation was,” Archuleta said. “Organizations, they have their own way of evaluating guys, and it’s always going to be one of these things when these guys come up for a contract, the money that they might demand, do they have a value? Is there that much value in that receiver? Do they look at him as being a top-10, top-five wide receiver?”
Well, Buffalo might – and that’s telling because head coach Sean McDermott and general manager Brandon Beane were both in Carolina during Benjamin’s tenure there.
“(McDermott) really values a lot of the people they brought into that organization, and they want to build the Buffalo Bills in the same way,” Archuleta said. “Obviously in Buffalo right now they need a No. 1 guy. They need a guy that they can throw to when he’s covered, a guy that’s going to be a physical, at-the-point-of-the catch receiver. They don’t have that. They haven’t had that. They’ve been winning without it. I think Benjamin is an excellent piece for that offense. So I don’t know the motivation for Carolina, but I think for what they’re doing in Buffalo, I think he’s a great fit.”