Turns out, that may have been accurate after all. According to a story from ESPN's Seth Wickersham, Belichick was not happy about the Pats trading Jimmy G.
In fact, Wickersham reported Friday that Belichick was "furious and demoralized" when the trade went down and that the Jimmy G trade. The trade, it appears from Wickersham's report, came after a meeting between Belichick and Patriots owner Robert Kraft.
From the article:
Two weeks before the Nov. 1 trading deadline, Belichick met with Kraft to discuss the quarterback situation. According to staffers, the meeting ran long, lasting half the day and pushing back Belichick's other meetings. The office was buzzing. The meeting ended with a clear mandate to Belichick: trade Garoppolo because he would not be in the team's long-term plans, and then, once again, find the best quarterback in the draft and develop him. Belichick was furious and demoralized, according to friends. But in the end, he did what he asks of his players and coaches: He did his job.
The Jimmy G situation is one of the most complex matters we've seen in the NFL in the last decade. The Patriots have a quarterback who is playing at an MVP level; it would be a stunner if Brady did NOT win the 2017 NFL MVP award at the age of 40. Marinate on that for a second. At the same time, Brady can't play forever. Even if he hopes to play until his mid-40s, no amount of sports science or pliability can guarantee that he plays at this level for another three or four years. The drop off for quarterbacks is swift and sudden.
Really, the only solution was to pay both Brady and Garoppolo. According to Wickersham's report, the Patriots "repeatedly" tried, by offering Garoppolo and his agent Don Yee a contract that would pay him between $17 and $18 million per year:
The Patriots repeatedly offered Garoppolo four-year contract extensions, in the $17 million to $18 million range annually that would go higher if and when he succeeded Brady. Garoppolo and Yee rejected the offers out of hand, for reasons that remain unclear, and the Patriots knew they couldn't make any promises to Garoppolo about the timing of a transition at quarterback without it getting back to Brady.
There have been reports about possible offers to Garoppolo and Yee but no numbers specifically tied to them before. That's a lot of cheddar to get as a backup quarterback, although it's understandable if Garoppolo was worried he might not see the field for another half decade. Getting rich is great, but quarterbacks want to play football. Garoppolo is going to make in the $25 million range next year, whether it's on the franchise tag or via a long-term contract, because of how he's looked as a starter. There is little upside to sitting on the bench behind Brady, outside of collecting tens of millions for not playing football.
Since being traded to the 49ers,, a complete and total steal for the price of a second-round pick. The report from Wickersham includes a claim that Kraft "has confessed to people in the building that trading Garoppolo might have been a mistake."
Belichick, according to the report, has "taken pride" in Garoppolo's hot start with the 49ers and also essentially took the "find him a good home" philosophy when it came to trading Garoppolo.
It's an odd situation to find the Patriots facing CERTAIN DOOM as they prepare to defend a Super Bowl title as the No. 1 seed in the AFC. They could easily win another title this year. But the Garoppolo trade appears to be looming larger than anyone could have imagined this offseason.