All offseason, Adam Schefter was adamant in his reporting that the New England Patriots would not trade Jimmy Garoppolo. On Monday night, the ESPN reporter explained why they ultimately did.

The Patriots dealt Garoppolo to the San Francisco 49ers on Monday in exchange for a 2018 second-round draft pick, a trade — first reported by Schefter — that sent shockwaves through the NFL.

So why did the Patriots pull the trigger now, and why did they wait so long?

“Well, I think what we have here is a case where Jimmy Garoppolo was going to be a free agent after this season,” Schefter said in a “SportsCenter” appearance. “His contract was going to be up. And New England had made efforts to sign him — re-sign him. And I think the more they talked, the more they recognized that it was going to be too difficult to re-sign him. And so rather than have him walk away after the season ends, they decided to make the move now and to trade him for a second-round draft pick.”

The Patriots would have received a compensatory draft pick had Garoppolo left in free agency, Schefter continued, but “that would limit their flexibility in free agency with the players they could or could not bring in.” So New England reached out to San Francisco on Monday morning, and by the end of the day, the deal was done.

Schefter stressed that the Patriots did not let Garoppolo go because they questioned his talent.

“It became increasingly obvious over time that they were not going to be able to keep him,” Schefter said. “They had hoped to keep him. They had hoped to keep him on board. It wasn’t as if this team has lost faith in Jimmy Garoppolo or decided to go in a different direction. I think that they recognized that, basically, the horse was going to be out of the barn after this season, and rather than wait for that, they decided to act now.”

The 49ers currently sit at 0-8, making it likely the pick they sent to the Patriots will be a high second-rounder. New England also could choose to move that pick for another player ahead of Tuesday’s NFL trade deadline.

With Garoppolo now in San Francisco and Jacoby Brissett Indianapolis, Tom Brady is the only quarterback remaining on the Patriots’ roster. They’ll need to sign another before next Sunday’s game against the Denver Broncos.

Former Patriots backup Brian Hoyer, who reportedly was released by the Niners after the Garoppolo trade, is a prime candidate to fill that role.

Thumbnail photo via Chuck Cook/USA TODAY Sports Images