Bill Belichick addressed the media Tuesday morning in a conference call for the first time since the New England Patriots made the shocking decision to trade backup quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo on Monday night.
Belichick began the conference call describing what kind of player and person the San Francisco 49ers were getting in Garoppolo. Then he got into why the Patriots made the decision to trade him.
“As his career moves forward, we have to look at our team, both this year and beyond,” Belichick said. “We probably had, in my opinion, the best QB situation in the league for the last, call it, 2 1/2 years. It is just not sustainable given the way that things are set up. It’s definitely not something we wanted to walk away from.
“I felt like we rode it out as long as we could. We, over a period of time, explored every option possible to sustain it. We, 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 and again on multiple levels, way too many to get into at this time. … This is a decision involving Jimmy in some form of a decision that’s been looming for the last couple years.”
The Patriots reportedly were trying to sign Garoppolo to a contract extension, but he wanted to play, rather than be paid handsomely to sit behind starter Tom Brady for the foreseeable future. If the Patriots hadn’t traded Garoppolo, they could have franchised him in the 2018 and 2019 offseasons, but that would have put them in a bind with their salary cap situation. If the Patriots let Garoppolo sign with another team as a free agent, then they only could have received, at most, a 2019 third-round compensatory draft pick for letting him walk.
By trading him now, the Patriots get what likely will be a very high second-round draft pick from the 49ers. The Patriots selected Garoppolo with the 62nd overall pick in the 2014 draft and traded him for what could be 29 or 28 slots higher in the 2018 draft four years later. The Patriots won two games with Garoppolo as a starter, and it seemed he pushed Brady to play at an even higher level from 2014 to 2017 than he did prior.
Belichick wouldn’t speculate on who the Patriots will sign to back up Brady now that Garoppolo is gone. The 49ers released quarterback Brian Hoyer, who served as a Patriots reserve from 2009 to 2011, to make room for their new starter. It would make sense for the Patriots to snag Hoyer to back up Brady for the rest of the 2017 season.
Thumbnail photo via Joe Camporeale/USA TODAY Sports Images