It's no secret: Jimmy Garoppolo is in a position to make himself a very rich man in the next couple of years.
Because the rest of the NFL is so starved for halfway-decent quarterback play, if Garoppolo can prove that he's able to run an offense as Tom Brady's replacement for the first month of the regular season, he could be floated a sizable second contract when his rookie deal is up after the 2017 season.
There is also the possibility that the Patriots trade Garoppolo at some point after his four-game stretch as starter, and the Eastern Illinois product could sign a lucrative extension elsewhere before hitting the open market.
It may be a lot to process for a player who has yet to take a meaningful NFL snap in his first two professional seasons, but Garoppolo told WEEI on Monday that he wasn't thinking much about the future.
"It's a long way down the road anyway," Garoppolo told Gary Tanguay, Rob Bradford and Jon Meterparel, who filled in as co-hosts on the Dennis and Callahan Show.
"We've got three weeks of preseason left, and then we'll get to the regular season and see how things start going from there. If you start worrying about things like that, if you've got that in the back of your head, you're gonna get all messed up. It's one of those things you kind of put to the background and deal with the present."
Of course before Garoppolo can be considered a highly-valued commodity, he has to perform up to the standards of one of those quarterback-starved franchises. Brady, widely-regarded as one of the hardest workers in the game, said on Sunday that his understudy is doing everything he needs to do behind the scenes, which is a start.
Garoppolo was happy to hear that Brady, from whom he's learned a great deal, respected his work ethic. "It's an honor for him to say something like that," Garoppolo said. But he insisted that an ability to grind both on the field and off has long been an important aspect of his approach.
“I’ve always worked hard. That’s something I’ve always taken pride in,” Garoppolo said. “Especially coming from a small school, it’s tough to get noticed so you have to do that little bit extra stuff to get noticed. Coming in here and seeing the way Tom goes about his business, I wouldn’t say it changed me a ton, but you just see different ways of going about it in how he prepares compared to how a college player prepares. It’s night and day really, so having a guy like that to look up to, it’s so helpful to me.”
As helpful as Brady has been, Garoppolo hasn't picked up every little thing that his mentor swears by.
"I haven't adopted the avocado ice cream yet," he said. "I'm still into all-natural ice cream . . . Ice cream is kind of my weakness. A good cookies and cream cone, it's never bad for you."