With the NFL draft set to kick off tonight in Philadelphia, Jimmy Garoppolo's status in New England is playing a secondary role in the undertow of the draft drama.
Garoppolo isn't sweating the situation.
"No nerves," Garoppolo told Comcast SportsNet New England's Mike Girardi before the Boston Celtics' playoff game on Wednesday. "I'm just trying to enjoy the game with the guys tonight. It's a special thing coming out here."
While Garoppolo's trade stock will never be higher than this offseason, coach Bill Belichick is content to keep his backup in 2017 to ensure the year isn't wasted if Brady suffers an injury. Watching an asset diminish exponentially in value isn't something most franchises could get away with.
The fourth-year quarterback said even with all the rumors floating this offseason, he kept his head down and worked like normal.
"To be honest, I really didn't think about it," he said. "I was just enjoying the offseason. Working out. Grinding it out with the guys out in California. Now we're back at it with the team."
If, as expected, Garoppolo isn't traded tonight, the clock will start on the questions about his long-term future. The Pats could use their 2018 franchise tag on the backup quarterback to facilitate a Matt Cassel-type trade, which would likely net New England a much lower haul than it would receive today. Belichick could also watch Brady's best backup walk away for a meager down-the-road compensation pick. Those are risks the Pats appear willing to take to ensure they're guaranteed to compete for Super Bowl six in 2017.
Watch the NFL Draft LIVE on Thursday at 8 p.m. ET on NFL Network.