By Yagev Levi
The first Patriots game of the 2018-2019 NFL season has come and gone. With that, Patriots fans can rejoice after a stellar 27-20 victory against the Houston Texans. It also comes as no surprise that Tom Brady shut up several critics in the media claiming he’s “done” with 277 passing yards on 26/39 with 3 TDs and an unfortunate tipped ball that resulted in an interception. For a 41 year old, in the first game of the season, I think Patriots fans have reason to celebrate. But, again, he is 41 years old.
This time last year, no one cared about Tom Brady’s age because of the young, elite, and then-backup, Jimmy Garoppolo. Jimmy G was supposed to be the next in line for the Patriots quarterback position. In his few starts and appearances as a New England Patriot, Jimmy shined and exceeded all expectations helping ease the fright that the inevitable end to Tom Brady’s career was right around the corner. That didn’t last long.
On October 30th, 2017, the Patriots traded Jimmy Garoppolo to the San Francisco 49ers for San Francisco’s 2018 second round pick. Trade rumors had surrounded Tom Brady’s backup ever since he started two games for the Patriots last year when Brady was suspended for Deflategate. However, things had been quiet this season and this trade sent a shock throughout the league. The return on what Patriots fans, and Bill Belichik, believed to be the prodigal son to Tom Brady was minimal and close to nothing on what Jimmy was worth. It seemed strange, to say the least. I certainly did not understand what was going on. I did not believe that was the right move and I wish Jimmy was still a New England Patriot.
A source close to the McDaniels family has shined light on the matter in recent weeks, and this is information that hasn’t, and probably will not be, reported by the media. As crazy as this may seem, it’s true.
After the trade went down, Belichik said in an interview, “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.” Not sustainable indeed but had Bill gotten his way the situation would’ve been flipped
In the days leading up to the Garoppolo trade, Bill Belichik was looking into other trade scenarios. Something that has never been entirely confirmed is that within Tom Brady’s contract, he has a no trade clause for trades to every team in the league EXCEPT the San Francisco 49ers, Brady’s hometown. That has been confirmed with this story. In those couple days, Belichik had a trade in place for Tom Brady to go to the 49ers as he believed it was time to move on. A move I personally agree with, trade Brady over Jimmy. It made the most sense, Brady was getting old and with Jimmy being a free agent after the 2017-2018 season, Bill knew he wouldn’t be able to keep him with a franchise tag that was almost double Brady’s salary. Bill realized what he had to do.
Clearly that trade never happened. Belichik went to Rob Kraft to confirm the trade and he vetoed it. Ultimately causing a divide in the Patriots organization. It was Kraft vs. Belichik in a time where the organizations future was uncertain . The 49ers canceled the trade even before Bill could go to Kraft but the fact the trade was even on the table was problematic enough.
After Belichik went to Kraft, Brady found out. It quickly became Kraft and Brady vs. Belichik and Brady demanded that Jimmy be traded. Belichik had no choice but to ship away what he believed was the future of the Patriots organization off to San Francisco instead of Brady. Since then, the relationship between Brady and Belichik has been strained and much of their close relationship has shifted to strictly business.
Jimmy went off to the 49ers and turned heads winning the 49ers last 5 regular season games and shining so bright that many fans were angered confused with the Patriots organization, me being one of them.
You can’t change the past and therefore we should not dwell on it. Who knows what the Patriots and the NFL would’ve been like had Brady been shipped off to San Francisco. Would Jimmy have panned out and become the next, great Patriot quarterback? Would we have even made the Super Bowl? Who knows. But one things is for sure, the Patriots future would’ve looked much more promising being led by a 26 year old prodigy, than the 41 year old GOAT, as hard as it is to admit it.