Jacoby Brissett recalls 'shocking' trade from Patriots to Colts

Jacoby Brissett recalls 'shocking' trade from Patriots to Colts

BOSTON — Two quarterbacks are front-and-center in New England’s consciousness right now: Jimmy Garoppolo, the former Patriot who’s playing in Super Bowl 54 Sunday, and Tom Brady, whose legendary, 20-year reign as Patriots quarterback may or may not be coming to an end.

Somewhere sprinkled into the story of Garoppolo’s rise in San Fran and Brady’s possible end of days is Jacoby Brissett, the only quarterback to work alongside both of them.

I ran into Brissett at Logan Airport on Sunday. He’d been celebrating Duron Harmon’s birthday with his former teammates. I was on my way to Miami for the week of Super Bowl coverage.

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We had a great talk at Gate A3 and we’ll feature the whole conversation on Tom Curran’s Patriots Talk Podcast this week. He talked Jimmy G., Brady’s role as mentor and menace and the hard-to-grasp possibility that Brady may not play for the Patriots anymore.

We also talked about the trade that sent him to the Colts where he’s been the starter the past two seasons.

Drafted in the third round in 2016, Brissett actually played more than Garoppolo during Brady’s four-game suspension at the start of the 2016 season. Garoppolo didn’t make it through six quarters; Brissett played two and a half games.

He was, it seemed, the backup plan at backup quarterback if the Patriots couldn’t convince Garoppolo to stay when his contract expired after the 2017 season.

But on September 2, 2017, the Patriots traded Brissett after the final preseason game to the Colts in exchange for Phillip Dorsett. I asked what the conversation was like when the team let him know.

“(The conversation) was with Bill (Belichick),” he explained. “Julian (Edelman) just got hurt against Detroit so Bill’s whole thing was we needed a punt returner/receiver so they made the trade for Phillip. And that was pretty much it. He said he respected me, respected my work ethic and leadership and blah, blah, blah, but it was just ... I’d never experienced being traded so it was kind of shocking. But then you just go wherever you gotta go. You gotta go to work.”

I asked Brissett if what happened in Indy this year with the unexpected retirement of Andrew Luck was more jarring.

“The trading was a little more shocking,” Brissett corrected. “A trade is more, ‘What?!’ You just don’t understand. When someone retires, you understand. You figure that out.

“But when you’re traded and don’t know you’re about to get traded? It just hit me off guard,” he said. “I had played well against the Giants the day before and it was, like, ‘What?!’ But that’s the NFL. You talk to anybody and the players who’ve been traded say, ‘Yeah, that’s about right.’ It comes with the territory of the NFL.”

It’s worked out for all three.

Brissett, had he stayed in New England, likely would have watched Brady play the entirety of the 2018 and 2019 seasons without getting off the bench. Now he’d be a free agent with his rookie contract expiring. The Patriots would either be in the midst of convincing him to stay or letting him go — but either way, Brissett wouldn’t have made the same money in New England as he has in Indy. Or had the same experience.

After Luck retired, Brissett negotiated a two-year, $30 million deal for himself that expires after the 2020 season. He’s made 30 starts in Indy and — at 27 — has thrown 31 touchdowns and 13 picks. Garoppolo, obviously, has flourished in San Fran. And Brady only cemented his status as the greatest quarterback of all-time after the Brissett trade.

Funny how things have a way of working themselves out.

NFL opt outs: Complete list of players who won't play in 2020 season

NFL opt outs: Complete list of players who won't play in 2020 season

NFL training camps officially began Tuesday, but there were some notable absences.

Kansas City Chiefs offensive lineman Laurent Duvernay-Tardif became the first NFL player to opt out of the 2020 season last Friday, citing health concerns related to the coronavirus pandemic.

Since then, multiple players have followed suit, continuing a trend across all major North American professional sports of players declining to participate in their seasons as COVID-19 persists in the United States.

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The Patriots especially have felt the impact of this trend: Six New England players -- including star linebacker Dont'a Hightower -- already have opted out, the most of any NFL team.

Below is a running list of the players who have opted out of the 2020 NFL season, according to reports or team/player confirmations. The list is sorted alphabetically after the Patriots, with the date of the players' opt-outs in parentheses.

New England Patriots

RB Brandon Bolden (July 28)
OT Marcus Cannon (July 28)
S Patrick Chung (July 28)
LB Dont'a Hightower (July 28)
WR Marqise Lee (August 1)
OG Najee Toran (July 27)
FB Danny Vitale (July 27)
TE Matt LaCosse (August 2)

Baltimore Ravens

OT Andre Smith (July 28)
WR/KR De'Anthony Thomas (July 27)

Buffalo Bills

CB E.J. Gaines (August 2)
DT Star Lotulelei (July 28)

Carolina Panthers

LB Jordan Mack (July 28)
LB Christian Miller (August 3)

Chicago Bears

DT Eddie Goldman (July 28)
S Jordan Lucas (August 3)

Cincinnati Bengals

OT Isaiah Prince (July 31)
DT Josh Tupou (July 31)

Cleveland Browns

DT Andrew Billings (August 4)
OL Drake Dorbeck (July 29)
OL Drew Forbes (July 29)

Dallas Cowboys

CB Maurice Canady (July 27)
WR Stephen Guidry (July 28)
FB Jamize Olawale (Aug. 2)

Denver Broncos

OT JaWuan James (Aug. 3)
DT Kyle Peko (July 28)

Detroit Lions

DT John Atkins (July 29)
WR Geronimo Allison (Aug. 2)

Green Bay Packers

WR Devin Funchess (July 28)

Houston Texans

DT Eddie Vanderdoes (July 28)

Jacksonville Jaguars

EDGE Larentee McCray (August 1)
DL Al Woods (July 31)

Kansas City Chiefs

OG Laurent Duvernay-Tardif (July 24)
RB Damien Williams (July 29)

Las Vegas Raiders

CB D.J. Killings (August 3)
DE Jeremiah Valoaga (August 3)

Los Angeles Rams

OT Chandler Brewer (July 31)

Minnesota Vikings

NT Michael Pierce (July 28)

New Orleans Saints

TE Jason Vander Laan (July 28)
TE Cole Wick (July 28)

New York Giants

WR Da'Mari Scott (August 2)
LT Nate Solder (July 29)

New York Jets

OL Leo Koloamatangi (July 28)
LB CJ Mosley (August 1)

Philadelphia Eagles

WR Marquise Goodwin (July 28)

Seattle Seahawks

OG Chance Warmack (July 27)

Tennessee Titans

OL Anthony McKinney (July 28)

Washington Football Team

DT Caleb Brantley (July 27)
LB Josh Harvey-Clemons (August 3)

Free Agents

G Larry Warford (July 28)

With NFL deadline in place, is a flurry of opt-outs coming?

With NFL deadline in place, is a flurry of opt-outs coming?

With an opt-out deadline of Thursday at 4 p.m. now set, we’ll see if a final flurry of players decide to take a pass on the 2020 NFL season.

As of Tuesday morning, 50 players have opted out of the 2020 season. Eight of them were Patriots — by far the highest number of opt-outs in the league (the Cowboys and Browns have the second most with three each).

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This deadline is earlier than the original one the NFL and NFLPA originally agreed upon. Initially, the deadline was to come seven days after the two sides signed off on the myriad amendments to the CBA to get the 2020 season off the ground. But the process of getting the two sides to actually finalize the deal and sign it took so long, the league wanted to move up the date.

That rankled Patriots safety Devin McCourty, who railed on Sunday against the league tinkering with the agreed-upon seven-day period. 

In the end, the league got its way with some concessions coming back to the players.

As it stands now, there are two ways an NFL player can opt out of the 2020 season after the 4 p.m. ET Thursday deadline:

1. A new diagnosis he has one of the agreed-upon high-risk conditions.
2. A player’s family member dies, is hospitalized or otherwise moves to a medical facility because of COVID-19 or related condition.

If a player lives with someone who is a high-risk individual, he can request alternate housing that the team will pay for. The cost of that housing will count as a player benefit and be reflected on the salary cap.

Obviously, this is some stark language. A player can opt out if a family member dies because of COVID-19? If someone in your home is later designated high-risk, the league will help you move out?

No matter how remote the possibility of worst-case scenarios may be, seeing them spelled out is jarring.

With all teams reported and now into the strength-and-conditioning portion of this ramp-up, there’s probably a developing level of comfort among players for the precautions in place and logistics. The question of “what’s it going to be like” has passed.

But for players who’ve now seen what it’s like or who bristle at the rules now officially in place — a fine system for “refusal to weak mask, PPE or tracking device or maintain social distancing during team travel” for instance — that Thursday deadline could be busy.

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