by: Ryan Hannable on Tue, 06/06/2017 - 10:55pm

Jimmy Garoppolo could stay in New England past this year. (Troy Taormina/USA Today Sports)Following this season, Jimmy Garoppolo is going to have a big decision to make. 

He could play quarterback for a subpar team like the Browns, Jets, Bears, etc., or stay in New England without truly knowing when he will get the chance to start because of Tom Brady playing like he’s 29 and not 39.

The former second-round pick has all the leverage to get paid following this season. Either a team besides the Patriots will sign him to a megadeal (just look at all the mediocre quarterbacks’ deals over the last few years), the Patriots will franchise him (about $22 million for 2017), or the Patriots will sign him to a fairly large contract extension.

Obviously, Garoppolo wants to play given he will have sat behind Brady for four years, but he also understands how good of a situation he has it playing for the Patriots.

“I love it. It’s a very fortunate situation to come into a place, get drafted here,” Garoppolo told reporters at Gillette Stadium on Tuesday. “There’s good people all around the building from support staff to the lunch ladies and everything. I know it sounds crazy, but it’s just a good group of people. It rubs off on each other.” 

While many continue to believe Brady holds a grudge against Garoppolo as the player trying to take his job, actions have proven otherwise and Garoppolo himself even referred to Brady as “a big brother.”

“He’s very helpful on the field, off the field, with things in life,” Garoppolo said. “He’s been kind of like a big brother to me. It’s been very helpful.” 

This isn’t a case of Garoppolo wanting to get out of New England because he can’t stand Brady. He genuinely likes being with him every day and by the way, he’s the greatest quarterback to ever play the game — not the worst guy in the world to learn from. 

If Garoppolo were to leave the Patriots, it isn’t like he would be going to a team in a great position to win. After all, a team wouldn’t be looking for a quarterback unless there was something wrong. 

Going to a subpar team might not be the best thing for him — playing with a bad offensive line, playing for a bad coach/offensive coordinator, or having receivers who can’t get open and catch the ball. What if he struggles, even if it isn’t his fault? We’ve seen over the last several years how impatient organizations are with quarterbacks given the “win-now” mindset in the NFL and after one or two bad seasons, he could be on the street looking for another team.

Staying in New England he might have to wait a few years longer than he wants to in order to start, but he would know his situation would be better than anywhere else in the league. The Patriots are built to be good for a long time and have the best coaching staff in football, including Josh McDaniels, one of the best offensive coordinators in the game calling the plays and would put Garoppolo in the best position to succeed. Just look at what he did in the first 5.5 quarters of 2016.

“Could I see a huge benefit staying in New England? Absolutely, hell yes,” Garoppolo’s personal quarterback coach Jeff Christensen said to WEEI.com in April. “They are one of the top franchises in all of sports right now. Yeah, absolutely, there could be a huge, huge benefit in that. No matter what happens, when you change addresses you have to rebuild confidence and trust with people. Sometimes that takes a lot of work. He’s already spent four years of his life building all that confidence and trust. Why re-invent the wheel?”

If Garoppolo, who is 25 years old, were to stay in New England he may not be a starter until he’s around 30 years old, which certainly would limit his NFL career as a starter, but he could look at it as 5-7 years with the Patriots being better than 10 or so years of uncertainty, taking the risk of having to bounce around the league trying to find a home if it doesn't work out with the first team he signs with.

Also, it’s worth noting Garoppolo will be financially taken care of if he stays in New England. Like was previously mentioned, he has all the leverage and the Patriots know that. It’s conceivable Garoppolo could even make more money than Brady next season, and that is just the cost of making sure the quarterback position is stable for the years to come for New England.

So while everyone is quick to say Garoppolo wants to play and be a starter, therefore will want to leave New England after this season, what if he wants to play for a team he knows is going to win and he’s comfortable with?

Think about it, the safest thing for Garoppolo’s NFL career may be to stay in New England and wait out Brady.