Patriots

NFL Trade Deadline: Several trades we wish had happened

NFL Trade Deadline: Several trades we wish had happened

The NFL trade deadline has passed, and this was a step in the right direction for a league that's getting more and more active trade-wise. But still, there were only two trades on deadline day: Aqib Talib to the Dolphins and Leonard Williams to the Giants.

Sure, there were a bunch of players traded leading up the deadline, including Mohamed Sanu, Emmanuel Sanders, Jalen Ramsey, and Marcus Peters, but Tuesday? It was more dudline than deadline.

That said, the league could have been a hell of a lot more exciting with these moves. 

Philip Rivers to the Bills

Or really any quarterback to the Bills, for that matter. Buffalo is one of the teams that's a player or two away from being a serious contender, but when that player is a quarterback, you might as well be 10 players away. Imagine Philip Rivers in the AFC East for a couple of months, and the defensively stout Bills suddenly having an offense. 

O.J. Howard to the Patriots

The Bucs' handling of their 2017 first-round pick has been confusing. They've used him primarily as a blocker, killing his trade stock. Then, when approached by teams that would actually like to throw Howard the ball, Tampa's price was sky-high. Sure, it hurts PR-wise to sell low, but if you don't think the guy fits with your offense, what other choice do you have? Something tells me the Patriots would have found a better use for him. 

A kicker to the Patriots

The Super Bowl favorites spent deadline day swapping out kickers from the trash heap. NFL teams generally don't trade kickers, but if they did the Patriots might have a quality one. 

Melvin Gordon to the Lions

The Lions were a pleasant surprise after their 2-0-1 start, but they're just 1-3 since. They also have a doozy upcoming schedule, so if Matt Patricia wants to push for the playoffs in his second year he could use an upgrade to a backfield that lost Kerryon Johnson to IR. In case you've missed it, the Chargers are a disaster this season and Gordon hasn't exactly helped them since returning from his holdout. 

Any quarterback to the Bears

Apply everything I wrote earlier about the Bills to the Bears. 

Larry Fitzgerald to the Ravens

The Ravens had barely any cap space after trying for Marcus Peters, so they would have had to do more than just give Willie Snead a new contract. Say they figured it out, though. Lamar Jackson would have another weapon and the 36-year-old Fitzgerald would be able to take another crack at a title run late in his career. 

Jamal Adams to the Cowboys

This one was rumored leading up to the trade deadline. I don't really care about the Cowboys getting a really good safety; I just like seeing first-round picks traded, and if such a deal went down, two AFC East teams would have multiple first-round picks in 2020. Potential competition!

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How Jimmy Garoppolo won his 49ers teammates over soon after Patriots trade: 'It was sick'

How Jimmy Garoppolo won his 49ers teammates over soon after Patriots trade: 'It was sick'

MIAMI -- George Kittle was dressed as a pirate. It was the day before Halloween of his rookie season. He was going to celebrate the holiday as any 24-year-old would. Then, as any 24-year-old would, he peeked down at his phone to check on a notification.

Jimmy Garoppolo had been traded by the Patriots to Kittle's 49ers. He had a new quarterback.

"I said, 'Wow, that's really interesting.' It was cool," Kittle remembered. "Jimmy G. Two Super Bowls. Hell of a leader. It's fun to have someone like that."

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Kittle and other Niners this week remembered the deal that sent Garoppolo to San Francisco and in the process changed the course of the franchise. They couldn't have known exactly what they had then. Garoppolo had only two NFL starts to his name. But now, sitting in front of microphones in Miami in the days leading up to Super Bowl LIV, they couldn't believe their good fortune that Garoppolo landed in their laps. 

The hints that they had something in Garoppolo came early. 

"Honestly, it sounds cliche but it's real, it was at the first practice," said fullback Kyle Juszczyk. "He ran the scout team the first day. And that first period he absolutely diced our defense. You could see it in his footwork, his mechanics, the confidence that he emitted. You could see that this guy was the real deal."

For Kittle, the sign came loud and clear that his offense had a new leader. It came before Garoppolo even made his first throw from under center. 

"It was funny, his first play under center, he has a really good cadence," Kittle said, referring to the quarterback's calls at the line of scrimmage. "He has a good voice for it. Right after he said, 'Hut! Hut! Hike!' for the first time, everyone was like, 'Whoa! Nice!' It was sick."  

"Very authoritative," offensive tackle Joe Staley said of Garoppolo's line-of-scrimmage vocals. The 13-year veteran smiled and added, "He's commanding. Lets you know he's there."

It came together quickly for Garoppolo in his second professional stop. He started five games after being traded, winning all five, and completing 67.4 percent of his passes at a clip of 8.8 yards per attempt. 

He tore his ACL after three games the following season, but rediscovered his 2017 form this season. The Niners went 13-3 with Garoppolo taking the snaps. He completed 69.1 percent of his throws (fourth in the NFL), threw 27 touchdown passes (sixth), and put up an 8.4 yards per attempt figure (third). 

"I didn't really know much, actually," Staley said of Garoppolo's days in New England. "I remember the one game he had in Arizona where he started and did really, really well. But didn't know much. Didn't have much of a reaction [to the trade] either way. Knew everyone was really high on him. 

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"Then he came in here and he really blew me away. In the huddle. All the little nuances of being a quarterback. The command that he had. His quick release. You could definitely tell that he was trained in that Patriots system as far as getting rid of the ball fast, which is awesome for an offensive lineman. He's continued to grow and develop since he's been here. It's been awesome to see him get to this point."

The Niners are back in the Super Bowl after a 4-12 record last season. Back in the Super Bowl with a chance to win one for the first time since January 1995. And thanks in part to Tom Brady continuing to play at an MVP level the season Garoppolo was dealt, thanks to the Patriots holding onto Garoppolo until midseason that year, all it cost the Niners to change everything was a second-round pick.

"I think," Juszczyk said, "we got him for a bargain."

Tom Brady reacts to Dante Scarnecchia's retirement with heartfelt message

Tom Brady reacts to Dante Scarnecchia's retirement with heartfelt message

On Tuesday, longtime New England Patriots offensive line coach Dante Scarnecchia decided to call it a career.

Several Patriots players bid farewell to the soon-to-be 72-year-old via Instagram, including quarterback Tom Brady.

Brady left a comment on the Patriots' Instagram announcement, commending Scarnecchia's for his unmatched dependability:

Couldn't have been a greater man or coach! What a privilege to play and work with Dante for two decades. The definition of the Patriot Way - consistent and dependable EVERY DAY!!

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Five of the Patriots' six Super Bowl titles came with Scarnecchia coordinating the blocking schemes that protected Brady.

As for who will take on the difficult task of replacing Scar, assistants Cole Popovich and Carmen Bricillo appear to be the leading candidates.