The New England Patriots have been the staple of excellence in the NFL for the past 17 years. A lot of their success is because of All-Pro quarterback Tom Brady. Many, including myself, consider him to be the greatest quarterback of all time. With seven Super Bowl appearances and four rings (for now), many will be chasing the GOAT for quite some time. However, Father Time is undefeated, and there will be a day where Tom Brady is no longer playing at a high level, and the window will close.

Sitting in the wings is a young quarterback by the name of Jimmy Garoppolo, who showed promise in his six quarters of play early in the season due to Brady’s four-game suspension for his involvement in the infamous Deflategate scandal (Thanks, Goodell). During his playing time, Garoppalo has proven that he can be a starting NFL quarterback and a good one at that. With games against the Arizona Cardinals and division rival Miami Dolphins, he threw for a combined 496 yards, 71 CMP%, and a QBR of 85, an impressive stat line for someone who had never started an NFL game. Garoppolo only played in the first half against Miami after suffering a sprained right AC joint and did not return. Before the injury, Garoppolo was torching the Miami defense. With three first-half touchdowns, anyone with a pair of eyes could see that the kid has a bright future in the NFL.

Jimmy Garoppolo not only has the stats to back up being an NFL starter, but he also has what can separate an average starter from a great starter, and that is what’s in between his ears. He has an outstanding football IQ for someone with his amount of experience. This was on display in the Arizona game where he approached the line of scrimmage in the first quarter and saw something in the defense that could be exploited. Garoppolo called an audible and got the offense out of the original play and called for a fly route for WR Chris Hogan and was wide open for an easy touchdown. He recognized the flaw in the defense and capitalized. On the Patriots final drive, Garoppolo continued to impress when he drove the offense down the field to set up the game-winning 53-yard field goal from Stephen Gostkowski. Garoppollo showed poise and composure, something you rarely see in a young QBs debut.

Reports are starting to surface about the QB’s future and where it will be. The Chicago Bears, San Francisco 49ers, Cleveland Browns and New York Jets have shown interest in Garoppolo’s services and he would most likely land the starting job in each of these places. The Patriot’s could end up walking away with multiple high round draft picks, including a first-round pick. To some, this is a good deal, and they would be willing to part ways with Jimmy and try and find the next guy to succeed Tom Brady, but the successor is already here.

It’s hard to find a good starting quarterback in today’s NFL, just ask the Cleveland Browns. The Patriots are sitting on an absolute gold mine with Garoppolo, and it would not be in the teams best interest to trade him away. He is still under contract for the 2017-2018 season. After that, you do whatever it takes to keep him in Foxboro.

For the success to continue, Jimmy Garoppollo remains a New England Patriot for next year and the future.