Bill Belichick wouldn’t take questions after the New England Patriots traded Jimmy Garoppolo on Halloween, but the head coach gave rare glowing remarks about his former backup quarterback on the way out.
Belichick was asked about Garoppolo’s recent play with the San Francisco 49ers for the first time since the trade on WEEI’s “Dale & Holley with Rich Keefe” on Tuesday.
“I am happy for the success that he’s had. I’ve talked to him about that,” Belichick said. “Jimmy worked hard, Jacoby (Brissett) worked hard, and they both have gotten an opportunity. We have another good quarterback here with Brian (Hoyer), who has been working very hard. He’s done a great job for us in the opportunities that he’s had. Obviously, a lot of those are on the practice field, but he has done a great job for us there. Happy for Jimmy and that Jacoby got the opportunity.”
Garoppolo is 4-0 as a starter with the 49ers so far. Including his time with the Patriots, he’s begun his career 6-0 as a starter.
Garoppolo is completing 69 percent of his passes this season for 1,268 yards with five touchdowns and three interceptions. Because Garoppolo has begun his starting career so hot, Belichick has been criticized in some media circles for only getting a second-round pick from the 49ers as compensation.
It’s possible Belichick could have received more for Garoppolo if he was traded before the 2017 NFL Draft. It’s assumed the Patriots wanted to see if Brady still was playing at a high level before trading his backup. Brady is the front-runner for NFL MVP this season.
The Patriots could have franchised Garoppolo for the 2018 season, but that would have cost the team upwards of $21 million, which would have hindered overall team-building and paid the backup quarterback more than Brady.
Overall, the Patriots were stuck and had to trade Garoppolo at the trade deadline if they were going to get anything more than a compensatory draft pick for him. And it’s unlikely they could have received much more for Garoppolo without him receiving more playing time, which wasn’t going to happen in New England.
It’s easy to look at how well Garoppolo is playing with the 49ers and say in retrospect the Patriots should have received more value in a trade. But it’s a double-edged sword, because there was no way for Garoppolo to showcase this talent prior to being traded.
The Patriots also traded Brissett to the Indianapolis Colts for Phillip Dorsett prior to the 2017 regular season. Brissett is 3-11 as a starter and completing 58.8 percent of his passes for 2,984 yards with 12 touchdowns and seven interceptions.
Thumbnail photo via Joe Camporeale/USA TODAY Sports Images