Matt Hasselbeck, Rex Ryan praise Jimmy Garoppolo trade on Sunday NFL Countdown

Stan Szeto / USA Today Sports

After the Patriots' trade-deadline blockbuster that sent backup QB Jimmy Garoppolo to the San Francisco 49ers for a second-round pick, many analysts were quick to proclaim winners on both sides of the deal. On Sunday NFL Countdown this week, ESPN analysts Matt Hasselbeck and Rex Ryan declared the Patriots the winners and called the deal "genius."


“You’re playing for the world champs,” Ryan said, “and in the best organization in football right now because, by the way, Tom Brady is still there. And look at this trade specifically. They trade — they don’t just get a second-round pick for Garoppolo, OK. They also get the backup quarterback. So they knew they were getting the backup quarterback as well.”

For his part, Hasselback echoed what Ryan said regarding the Hoyer-for-Garoppolo swap:

And that’s the genius in this trade, I believe, is that they held onto Garoppolo for as long as they could,” Hasselbeck said. “You know their risk management percentages, this is the best that they could hope for. They had him for half the year. If anything went, if Tom, you know, loses, breaks a shoelace, hurts his thumb, whatever it might be they’ve got a backup. “Now they don’t have the backup, but they got the value back. But what’s most important about this trade is they trade him to a team where they can ensure they get the backup they want in Brian Hoyer.

After picking up Hoyer on waivers in the deal's aftermath, New England was able to swap one experienced backup for another and gain a top-40 pick in next year's draft to boot. Obviously, the downside is Garoppolo's reputation as a potential franchise quarterback: instead of being the Aaron Rodgers to Tom Brady's Brett Favre, as many observers thought he would be, Jimmy G will now be playing against the Pats for the conceivable future. And while Hoyer is serviceable in the right system, nobody is going to confuse him with Garoppolo anytime soon. If Jimmy G turns out to be the star San Francisco hopes he is, the Pats might end up regretting this deal. But in the short term, with Garoppolo's contract expiring at the end of the year anyway, it looks like Bill Belichick got good return on investment for one of his most prized assets.

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