It must really have pained Bill Belichick to trade away Jimmy Garoppolo.

The New England Patriots coach traded his then-backup quarterback to the San Francisco 49ers last season for a second-round pick. It was head-scratching move at the time. Belichick surely could have collected more for the up-and-coming quarterback, and according to a report, there was more on the table in terms of an offer from the Cleveland Browns.

But Belichick reportedly had no desire to exile Garoppolo to Cleveland and instead shipped him to the Niners, sending him off in a press conference filled with uncharacteristically effusive praise for the signal-caller. Apparently, the pleasantries didn’t end there.

Garoppolo eventually became San Francisco’s starter and led the Niners to wins in each of his five starts to end the season. According to a Sports Illustrated profile of Garoppolo, the QB received congratulatory texts from Belichick following those wins.

“Last December, following the trade, a sort of weekly ritual began: After each of Garoppolo’s starts for the 49ers, he received a text from the coach who had traded him, congratulating him on another win,” SI’s Jenny Vrentas wrote.

Garoppolo’s mother elaborated on her son’s relationship with the grizzled head coach.

“Bill really, really liked Jimmy,” she told Vrentas. “Not like they were warm and fuzzy — but they both knew it was there.”

Obviously, it doesn’t take a whole lot of critical thinking to realize as much given Belichick’s public praise for Garoppolo, but it’s an interesting little nugget that only magnifies the perceived issues between Belichick and his longtime quarterback, Tom Brady. After six months of reports detailing the supposed friction between the two — including Brady’s reported desire to feel more appreciated — the lengths to which Belichick went to praise Garoppolo certainly stand out.

Thumbnail photo via Kyle Terada/USA TODAY Sports Images