By not acquiring Jimmy Garoppolo, the Arizona Cardinals quite possibly allowed an outstanding opportunity to pass them by
The Arizona Cardinals had gotten an up close and personal look at Jimmy Garoppolo when they were defeated by him last season. The quarterback was with the New England Patriots at the time, filling in for a suspended Tom Brady. Apparently, Cards’ general manager Steve Keim wasn’t overly impressed with the Pats’ backup signal-caller.
With a chance to pull off a trade for Garoppolo back in October, Arizona passed. After their division rival San Francisco 49ers acquired the fourth-year player, Cardinals’ fans were left wondering why Keim didn’t take the leap. It’s a general assumption that your favorite NFL team’s management knows more than you do, but that may not always be the case.
You can be certain that 49ers’ GM John Lynch had a big smile on his face when he awoke on Christmas morning. For one, he would be heading downstairs to see what Santa Claus left for him under the tree. Actually, he and first-year head coach Kyle Shanahan had already gotten a great gift when Garoppolo arrived back in October.
Since being inserted into San Francisco’s starting lineup, the 6’2″, 225 pounder has been stellar. Garoppolo has completed a whopping 69% of his passes for 1,268 yards and five touchdowns in his five appearances (four starts) with his new club. Even more impressive is the fact that the new leader of the Niners offense has won all four of the starts since being handed the reigns.
It’s obviously 20/20 hindsight, but how good would Garoppolo have looked in Cardinal red? The 49ers have one of the least-talented rosters in the league right now. Imagine what the 26-year old could have been doing now, and in the future, with some of the elite players that the Cards possess.
Compensation shouldn’t have been the reason for Keim not to pull the trigger. San Francisco only gave up a second-round draft pick to wrestle Garoppolo from the Patriots. And as Arizona fans certainly know, no draft picks (even first-rounders) are sure-things.
Keim is no stranger to trades. The two-time NFL Executive of the Year has pulled off a few since becoming the franchise’s top front-office man. Some of those trades consummated by Keim brought pieces like Carson Palmer, Chandler Jones, Adrian Peterson and Marcus Cooper to the desert.
So while division counterparts appear set at quarterback with Garoppolo, Russell Wilson (Seattle Seahawks) and Jared Goff (Los Angeles Rams), the Cardinals are in limbo. As of this writing, there’s a good chance that their brass has no idea who they’ll have at the position in 2018. To say that’s a scary thought would be an understatement.
An offer of a first-round pick to New England may have allowed the Cards to leapfrog the 49ers for Garoppolo’s services. Maybe even less than that could’ve gotten it done, like a second-rounder and another pick for example. Seems like a small price to pay for a guy who could be the face of the Cardinals for years to come.
At the end of the day, Arizona still doesn’t have a replacement for the close-to-retiring Palmer. There would’ve been a good bit of excitement in Cardinal-land had Garoppolo been assigned to the job. But, as the old saying goes, “you snooze, you lose”.