New England Patriots quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo has learned under one of the greatest passers of all time over the past few seasons, and Pats wide receiver Julian Edelman believes his mentality is on par with some other legendary signal-callers.
I'm not a paid GM so I don't know the whole value thing, but as far as a guy that I could play with every single day, Jimmy Garoppolo, I mean, the guy's a stud. He went out and played in the regular season and he played very well. He's got that kind of gunslinger 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.
Garoppolo will be among the biggest trade chips on the market during the offseason, with Pats starter Tom Brady showing no signs of slowing down.
With Brady out for the first four games of the 2016 regular season, Garoppolo began the campaign as New England's starter.
He went 2-0 with 496 passing yards, four touchdowns and no interceptions before an injury forced him to give way to Jacoby Brissett.
The 25-year-old showed impressive poise during his two games at the helm, and quarterback-needy teams across the NFL will likely inquire about his availability.
Garoppolo has just one year remaining on his rookie contract, and since Brady, who turns 40 in August, appears capable of playing at an elite level for the next few seasons, there is incentive for New England to deal its backup rather than letting him eventually walk for nothing in return.
Edelman's endorsement of Garoppolo is something for teams to consider, as is what head coach Bill Belichick said about him in November.
Per Matt Dolloff of CBS Boston, Belichick suggested that there often isn't much difference between Garoppolo and Brady:
Jimmy can go out there and run everything that Tom can run. We've seen that, so I'm not saying that he's not capable or qualified to do it. He is, and he does a great job of it and when we put Jimmy in there it's really seamless. Unless you were actually looking at the position, if you just could block out that position and say which guy was in there at quarterback, I don't know if you would know a lot of times.
The Patriots found themselves in a similar position with Matt Cassel eight years ago after Brady was injured in the season opener.
While Cassel did make one Pro Bowl with the Kansas City Chiefs and remains in the league as a backup, he never replicated the success he had in 2008.
Garoppolo is younger than Cassel was at that time (26), though, and he's more highly touted as a second-round pick in the 2014 NFL draft (Cassel was a seventh-round pick).
While Garoppolo impressed in limited action and has plenty of supporters, teams must decide how much of his success was due to the Patriots' system.