The New England Patriots have a bye this week, and the timing is kind of ideal. The team dealt away their backup quarterback, Jimmy Garoppolo, to the San Francisco 49ers for a second round pick. They will likely sign Brian Hoyer later this week, and that will give him some time to get back into the swing of things in the Patriots offense.
Belichick met with the media on Tuesday before the bye, and opened with comments about Garoppolo. He said it was a complex situation with this being the Patriots’ last real window to make a trade. There had been talk they might franchise him next year, but clearly they decided that was not the best step moving forward. Belichick felt the Patriots had the best quarterback situation in the NFL the last 2.5 years, but it was unsustainable for the long term. They did not want to walk away from it, but they felt it was time to make a decision.
The Patriots head coach was extremely complimentary of Garoppolo, and also the situation he is moving into.
“First of all, I have a tremendous amount of respect for Jimmy. I couldn’t ask for him to give us any more than he’s given us. The 49ers are getting a good player, they’re getting a good person, and they’re getting a great teammate, and they’re getting a good quarterback. And Jimmy’s getting a good coach. His career is moving forward. He’s a talented individual. He’s a great person to coach. I met with him weekly, and again, I have a tremendous amount of respect for him.”
Everything about this deal is interesting, from the timing to what the 49ers gave up. The complimentary comments about Shanahan are not surprising, but still interesting. John Lynch spent an offseason with the Patriots in 2008, and likely has had his share of interactions with Belichick through his FOX Sports media work. That’s not to say that made a huge difference in the deal, but maybe it greased the wheels a little bit.
Here’s the full transcript of Belichick’s intro comments, courtesy of Pats Pulpit.
We’ve completed the trade papers with San Francisco, so I’ll just make a couple of comments on this situation.
First of all, I have a tremendous amount of respect for Jimmy [Garoppolo]. I couldn’t ask for him to give us any more than he’s given us. The 49ers are getting a good player, and they’re getting a good person, and they’re getting a great teammate and they’re getting a good quarterback. Jimmy is getting a good coach. His career is moving forward. He’s a talented individual, was a great person to coach. I met with him weekly and, again, have a tremendous amount of respect for him.
As his career moves forward we have to look to our team, both this year and beyond, and that’s a consideration we have to make. We probably had, in my opinion, the best quarterback situation in the league for the last – let’s call it two-and-a-half years – it’s just not sustainable given the way that things are set up. It’s definitely not something that we wanted to walk away from and I felt like we rode it out as long as we could.
We over a period of time explored every option possible to try to sustain it, but just at this point felt like we had to make a decision. It’s a very complex situation on multiple levels and this is really the last window that we had and we did what we felt was best for the team. There were many things involved in this whole process and, again, on a number of levels; way too many to get into at this time. I’m definitely not going to get into any conversations that took place regarding the trade or with the player, but this is a decision involving Jimmy; in some form a decision that’s been looming for the last couple of years.
I’m sure a lot of you have questions that are fair but, again, to try and put the whole puzzle together and there are so many different points in time that would and could change the entire conversation that it’s just too complicated of a process and too unique to get into in depth. So, I’m not going to answer questions about the transaction and all of the follow ups that would be coming with those, which are fair questions, but it’s just not possible.
We’ll address the quarterback position and try to put our team in the most competitive position possible. I will not discuss any roster changes until they’ve been completed, so there’s not going to be any speculation about anything that might or might not happen in the future. That’s where we are for today.