Patriots don’t view 2017 as Garoppolo deadline

Now that the NFL’s two-day negotiating period has opened, inquiring football minds want to know if the Patriots will consider parting with backup quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo for the right price.

NFL Media Insider Ian Rapoport reported last week that New England’s brass is not comfortable turning the team over to 2016 third-round pick Jacoby Brissett in the event of a serious Tom Brady injury.

The upshot is that coach Bill Belichick views Garoppolo as a valuable piece of the team’s nucleus rather than a trade chip used to stockpile draft picks.

Might Belichick reconsider that stance if a desperate general manager makes an offer he can’t refuse?

After speaking with a source “somewhat connected to the situation,” NFL Network’s Mike Garafolo suggested on Tuesday’s edition of Free Agency Frenzy that it would take a 2017 first-round pick and perhaps another first-rounder in 2018 to get Belichick’s attention.

“Now that is an extremely high price to pay. That is franchise-tag high pricing right there,” Garafolo acknowledged. “No one expects that a team is going to be willing to part with that. If it’s a first-round pick this year and then a sweetener next year — maybe not a first-round pick but something else — could that start things going? Yeah, possibly it could.

“As it stands right now, Garoppolo is expected to be a Patriot for this upcoming season.”

If Garoppolo’s rookie contract expires after the 2017 season, why isn’t Belichick approaching trade scenarios with a greater sense of urgency?

By all accounts, Belichick views Garoppolo as not just a future star, but also the best possible Brady insurance as the Patriots attempt to defend their Super Bowl LI title.

Contrary to conventional wisdom, Garafolo emphasized that the team’s decision makers aren’t looking at this year as the deadline for a Garoppolo decision.

They’re really looking at next year,” Garafolo explained, “because they can always tag Garoppolo next year and then trade him. So it’s not like they’re looking at it saying, ‘We’ve got to get value for this guy now.'”

Even if Brady is showing no signs of decline and expects to play at a high level for at least the next three to five years, the Patriots understand injuries blindside key players every season. They are perfectly content to holster Garoppolo and revisit quarterback plans once Brady…