After 544 days of interminable nonsense the Deflategate saga has finally come to an end, and we now know for certain that Tom Brady will be suspended for the first four games of the 2016 season. But that's about all we know for sure.
Jimmy Garoppolo is entering his third season in New England and is poised to take Brady's place in September. Garoppolo hasn't taken any meaningful snaps during his brief cameos in relief of Brady, playing only in blowouts and in meaningless season finales with mostly backups. His lack of experience makes him largely an unknown at this stage, but he certainly will be the one tabbed to fill Brady's shoes during the first month.
Much less certain is how the Patriots will approach the backup situation. They drafted Jacoby Brissett out of N.C. State in the third round in the spring, and he figures to serve as Garoppolo's backup during Brady's absence. But that's not necessarily a guarantee.
Bill Belichick may want to add some insurance - experienced insurance - just in case something should go wrong with Garoppolo. In the event that Garoppolo is injured or ineffective, it's unlikely that the raw Brissett would be ready to step into live game action so soon. Therefore, it's possible that a veteran quarterback could be added to the mix.
This week's Samsonite Make Your Case question is: Should the Patriots add a veteran quarterback to the roster to join Jacoby Brissett as Jimmy Garoppolo's backup?
PFW's Andy Hart says...
It's one thing to go with just two quarterbacks when you have Tom Brady, one of the best and most durable quarterbacks of all time, running the show. I don't have that same level of faith in an untested Jimmy Garoppolo.
The Patriots should grab some insurance and sign a veteran quarterback to back up Garoppolo. Jacoby Brissett is not ready for live game action at this young stage of his development so adding a veteran would make sense. The Rams could make Nick Foles available, or guys like Matt Flynn or T.J. Yates might make some sense as well. Yates has some experience in Houston so he'd at least have a base understanding of the Patriots offense.
Leaving yourself with just Brissett as Garoppolo's backup for a month would seem to be an unnecessary risk. Go out and sign a veteran just in case.
PFW's Paul Perillo says...
One of the reasons the Patriots spent a third-round pick on a quarterback was so they wouldn't be forced to go out and sign a retread backup for Jimmy Garoppolo if this very scenario played out. So now it has and we're going to forget about the preparation the team has already done?
The Patriots are obviously weaker with Garoppolo being forced to play in place of Brady, and that would be even more true if something were to happen to Garoppolo in the meantime. Can anyone honestly say they'd feel discernibly better if Matt Flynn or some other generic career backup was on the roster and there to fill in instead of Jacoby Brissett? I certainly wouldn't, and I'd rather invest the time in working with Brissett to help him develop for the future even if the present doesn't look great.
If Garoppolo gets injured the Patriots will be in trouble, but not any more so with Brissett playing than some career backup. Let the young guys fill in for Brady and don't waste time adding someone who's already proven he can't play.
Now it's your turn to cast a vote in this week's Samsonite Make Your Case poll question.