Bill Belichick shocked the NFL yet again by trading highly competent backup quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo to San Francisco for a second round pick. Many Patriots fans believe their team deserved a lot more in return, just as they did when Belichick shipped off linebacker Jamie Collins last year to the Browns for a conditional draft pick. Or when he cut four-time Pro Bowler and fan favorite Lawyer Milloy five days before the 2003 season. Or when he shipped Chandler Jones to Arizona last year for now released guard Jonathan Cooper.
Garoppolo is entering the last year of his rookie contract, and he’s set to hit free agency after the 2017 season. According to MMQB’s Albert Breer, the Patriots were willing to pay him like a starting quarterback, but Garoppolo wanted more than just the money. He wanted to play. So, when free agency comes around, the Pats would likely enter a bidding war with teams like the Browns or 49ers, which could end poorly for them. In the end, Belichick did what was best for his team at this time, even if he could have unloaded Jimmy earlier and gotten more.
On a conference call with the media on Tuesday morning, Belichick offered a bit of clarity on his decision. Via Patriots.com:
“I have a tremendous amount of respect for Jimmy. I couldn’t ask for him to give us any more than he has given us,” Belichick began. “The 49ers are getting a good player, they are getting a good person and they’re getting a great teammate and they are getting a good quarterback, and Jimmy is getting a good coach.
“His career is moving forward, he’s a talented individual. He is a great person to coach. I met with him weekly. As his career moves forward, we have to look at our team, this year and beyond. We probably had in my mind, the best quarterback situation in the league for the last 2 1/2 years. It is just not sustainable the way things are set up. “Not something we wanted to walk away from. I felt we rode it out as long as we could, over a period of time, explored every option possible to sustain it. At this point, felt like we had to make a decision. Very complex situation on multiple levels. This is really the last window that we had, we did what we felt was best for the team. There were many things involved in this whole process.”
Garoppolo, who has two Super Bowl rings, will now join the winless 49ers.