"I venture to say, Bill Belichick gave the San Francisco 49ers a gift. He gave them Jimmy Garoppolo for a 2nd round pick. Hell, how about returning the favor? Do something for Bill Belichick and the New England Patriots. How about that? And how about this one, Max? How about this one, Booger? Not only do you get Jimmy G back, you give them Cam Newton! “I like Cam Newton in San Francisco. I like him with actual targets to throw the ball. I'd like him with actual targets to throw the football to! Kittle, OK? Deebo Samuel. Mostert. Being able to run the football.
“We’ve lamented, ‘Does Cam still have it?' But nevertheless, I’m saying you put him with weapons, the athletic stud that he is, if you still believe in Cam, there’s no question on the offensive side of the ball, that the San Francisco 49ers, with the play-calling of Kyle Shanahan, is a better option for Cam Newton than Josh McDaniels and Bill Belichick in New England being bereft of weapons.” - Stephen A. Smith, March 2021
Sometimes an idea comes along that is so brilliant and at the same time so obvious, you don't know whether to celebrate it or spiral into self-loathing because you yourself didn't come up with it. As the British-German economist Ernst F. Schumacher put it, "Any intelligent fool can make things bigger and more complex… It takes a touch of genius – and a lot of courage to move in the opposite direction."
That's what Stephen A. Smith has done here. While the rest of us have been buying into these reports that the 49ers have no intention of giving up Jimmy Garoppolo, others have said the Patriots can't afford him, and I've been arguing it's all just posturing and simply a matter of what it'll take to get him, we all overlooked the simple solution staring us right in our collective face.
Chef's kiss to you, Stephen A. How did the rest of us miss this? It's so perfect. It solves all the problems of both teams and both players. And when you put the numbers of each quarterback in their one full season with their respective teams together, you can see it's almost an apples-to-identical-apples comparison. [via Pro Football Reference]:
Whoa. Am I looking at two different QBs? I mean, cover up their names and you can't tell which is which! You have to keep reminding yourself Garoppolo played in three postseason games that year and Newton got pulled three times. Or that Jimmy G was fifth in the league in touchdowns and eighth in passer rating, while Cam was 34th and 28th.
And yes, Stephen A. is right that San Fran has had infinitely better weapons at their quarterback's disposal than Newton had to work with. Absolutely right. And Newton would benefit from the change more than anyone in this equation. Which is why it would kill me to do this deal. But OK. Sometimes sacrifices must be made. You've got to give up something to get something. And since the Niners are not about to give up the man that Belichick drafted and McDaniels developed to be the Heir of the Throne of Brady without exacting a terrible, terrible price? Well then, Newton it is. It will hurt, but it's for the greater good.
So great idea. Hopefully Belichick and John Lynch worked out the details yesterday in Alabama. Painful though it may be, this is a deal I'm willing to make.