By Chris Emma–
(CBS) Whether Jimmy Garoppolo can be a franchise quarterback remains to be seen, but the endorsements are piling up.
Recently, former Bears and Browns quarterback Josh McCown stated that Garoppolo has “tremendous upside” and “can carry a franchise.” Now, Patriots teammate Julian Edelman is backing what the 25-year-old Garoppolo can be.
“Jimmy Garoppolo, the guy’s a stud,” Edelman said Tuesday on NFL Network. “He went out and payed in the regular season and played very well. He’s got that kind of gun-slinger confidence, that Brett Favre, Aaron Rodgers kind of confidence. He practices hard, he prepares hard. He’s a good kid, he’s young. I think he’s a good player.”
The Bears will likely be among the suitors for a trade with the Patriots to acquire Garoppolo, who’s expected to be made available after Tom Brady led a 25-point comeback to win Super Bowl LI.
While Brady turns 40 in August, the Patriots have revealed their intent to re-sign him after he completes his 18th season in 2017. New England also drafted Jacoby Brissett in the third round of last year’s draft.
Chicago is likely to part ways with eight-year starter Jay Cutler in the coming weeks, making the quarterback position a priority this offseason. The Bears hold the No. 3 pick in the 2017 NFL Draft but have needs elsewhere on their roster.
Garoppolo has become a major storyline this offseason as the intriguing backup to Brady whose upside is the wonder of the NFL. Comparisons of his story to that of Rodgers are natural, as Garoppolo has waited in the wings of Brady like Rodgers did for Favre.
McCown was willing to make the Rodgers comparison, too, solely based on what he saw on film.
“He made some high-level throws and did some things that would get you excited about his ability to maybe carry a franchise,” McCown told Cleveland.com last week. “That’s definitely on the tape.
“I saw some things in Derek Carr early on in the 2014 draft that reminded me of Aaron Rodgers and I thought, ‘This guy is going to be pretty good.’ I see the same things when I watch Jimmy: quick release, strong arm, athletic. I’m not saying he’s Aaron Rodgers, but he’s got some traits in the same mold, and he’s got tremendous upside.”
Ultimately, the Bears must draw their own conclusion as to what Garoppolo could become. Then comes creating the best offer for the Patriots.