NFL news and rumors mailbag: How could Martellus Bennett’s comments on 49ers QB Jimmy Garoppolo impact his trade value?

While most of the NFL is taking a break from the news grind, Pro Football Network continues to crank out the content. Following a brief break, PFN’s lead NFL reporter Mike Kaye reopened our weekly mailbag and answered a trio of fan questions.

NFL news and rumors mailbag: 49ers, Jets, and more

How will Martellus Bennett and Julian Edelman’s critique of Jimmy Garoppolo impact his trade market? If Garoppolo is traded, where will he go and when?

This week, the “I’m An Athlete” podcast aired an interview with former New England Patriots wideout Julian Edelman. During the interview, Edelman was asked about comments made by former Patriots tight end Martellus Bennett about QB Jimmy Garoppolo in an interview done with the McCourty brothers on their “Double Coverage” podcast in 2021.

Devin and Jason McCourty, who played with Bennett and Edelman in New England, spoke to the former tight end about the 2016 season when Tom Brady was suspended and subsequently replaced by Garoppolo and Jacoby Brissett. In Week 4 of that campaign, Brissett was asked to make a last-minute start against the Buffalo Bills after Garoppolo decided to sit out with an injury to his non-throwing shoulder. Brissett was dealing with a serious thumb injury on his throwing hand and still played in the game.

Bennett recalled that Garoppolo was “being an [expletive]” about the injury, and teammates were mad that he made a last-minute decision to put the team in a bind. Bennett also said, “You can’t win with a [expletive] for a quarterback.”

So, Edelman read the comments before admitting that he and his teammates were mad about Garoppolo’s decision not to tough it out on the field. Those comments by Bennett and Edelman bring up an interesting dynamic in Garoppolo’s current situation, as he is coming off surgery on his throwing shoulder and is currently on the trade block. While he will reportedly be cleared to throw before training camp, his pain threshold and ability to handle adversity might be questioned following the comments of his former teammates.

Remember, Garoppolo is in the final year of his deal. If a team were to trade something for him, they’d probably want him as more than just a one-year rental. That said, how could a team sign up for an extension with Garoppolo following major surgery and public critiques of toughness? That’s something that teams will need to weigh as they consider his value.

Garoppolo’s market is incredibly limited already. The Pittsburgh Steelers, Atlanta Falcons, and Cleveland Browns all added multiple QBs this offseason, and the 49ers won’t trade their former Super Bowl QB to a division rival like the Seattle Seahawks. Really, the Carolina Panthers are the only team that makes sense for Garoppolo at this point. With $18.9 million already guaranteed to Sam Darnold, it’s unlikely the Panthers would want to extend Garoppolo’s contract, as he is due $24.2 million in base salary this season.

With all of those factors in play, the 49ers are likely to hold onto Garoppolo in hopes that a major injury happens at the QB position during training camp. Then, San Francisco can unload Garoppolo for value to a potential playoff team.

The 49ers shouldn’t rush to trade Garoppolo just to trade him, as Trey Lance is still more of a prospect than a proven asset. The franchise should let Garoppolo rehab and compete with Lance while monitoring the rest of the league’s QB situations. Eventually, they could find a deal worth their while. Either way, it’s hard to expect a team to trade for him before training camp.

Who do you think is the frontrunner for Comeback Player of the Year this season?

The last four Comeback Player of the Year award-winners have all been QBs. And while Russell Wilson didn’t miss the entire 2021 season, it was easily the most disappointing campaign of his career.

The Seattle Seahawks were ready to move on, and after dealing with a finger injury that forced him to miss three games, Wilson’s longtime reputation kind of took a hit. He had never missed a game prior to the finger injury, and the Seahawks won just six games with the then-franchise QB on the field.

Now, Wilson is in Denver following a mega-trade that saw Drew Lock, Noah Fant, Shelby Harris, and a boatload of draft picks head to Seattle. Wilson is set up to succeed in Denver with a much better supporting cast, namely a significantly improved offensive line in front of him. He also has Javonte Williams and Melvin Gordon at running back and Courtland Sutton, Jerry Jeudy, Tim Patrick, and KJ Hamler at wideout.

Wilson has all the makings of a potential MVP candidate if he can get the Broncos back to the playoffs. At minimum, a bounce-back season could earn him the Comeback Player of the Year award.

The other favorite for the award would be Jameis Winston of the New Orleans Saints. Winston looked to be off to a great start last year before suffering a torn ACL in the first half of the season. Drew Brees’ immediate successor will get a second chance in 2022, as he will lead the Saints’ offense in Dennis Allen’s first year as head coach.

Will the Jets win more than seven games this year?

Six seasons have passed since the Jets won more than seven games. Unfortunately, this year is likely to be the seventh-straight campaign in that long gloomy line. While the Jets have heavily improved their roster this offseason, they are coming off six wins in the past two seasons. A seven-win campaign would be a massive achievement for them at this point.

In positive news, seven wins feels doable this year. The Jets always play the Miami Dolphins tough, and Robert Saleh finally has some worthwhile pieces on his defense. Zach Wilson should also be improved, especially with the offseason additions of Garrett Wilson, C.J. Uzomah, and Tyler Conklin.

The Jets’ rebuild was never going to be an easy process, but GM Joe Douglas is doing things the right way. A steady incline could lead to long-term success, and the Jets are following that script.

While it’s doubtful they will win eight or more games this season, the Jets should come away with a positive (or improved) result this year.

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