The New England Patriots invested a second-round pick in Jimmy Garoppolo in 2014 to groom the heir apparent for Tom Brady.
The only problem? Tom Brady keeps playing at an elite level – to the point where the Patriots shipped Garoppolo to San Francisco for a 2018 second-round pick in October.
Was this move surprising? Especially since it occurred midseason?
“I think that it reached a point where Bill didn’t have any leverage,” Boston Globe columnist Dan Shaughnessy said on CBS Sports Radio’s The DA Show. “I think there was a little bit of a struggle there with ownership and the coach. I think the coach would have kept both quarterbacks and all that money – $40 million and whatever ridiculous number it was. But I think the threat was it would annoy Tom Brady to have a guy making all that money not playing on the bench, and it’s way too much money to invest in one position. So ownership, I think, didn’t want to do it, but if I’m Belichick, I would have stayed with that. I think he was reluctant to part with Jimmy G.”
DA, for one, thinks it’s odd that Robert Kraft and the Patriots brass wouldn’t automatically yield to Belichick. The assumption is that Belichick has carte blanche to do whatever he wants, no?
“I think that’s true, and I think that’s one of the reasons they’re as good as they are,” Shaughnessy said. “Bob Kraft has learned to stay out of the way. He learned his lesson under Parcells 20 years ago. But with this one, it’s so big, it’s so much the future of the franchise, it’s so much money, and it was really a seismic maneuver for the franchise to make. I think at that level, they do get into it. Bill, he liked this guy, he felt he had found the guy, (but) he didn’t expect Tom to keep doing what he’s doing. No one did. But I still think in a Belichick perfect world, he’d have them both.”
Shaughnessy wrote a column speculating that Belichick, 65, may want to coach well after Brady retires and make a run at the all-time wins record. Belichick has 270 career wins (regular season and postseason combined) and trails only George Halas (324) and Don Shula (347).
Belichick would need 10+ wins for the next seven seasons or so to catch Shula.
“I don’t think that he will, and the Shula thing, that’s a stab in the dark,” Shaughnessy said. “Bill, he would only be 72 years old and we’ve seen guys do that. You’d have to keep winning, but if Tom could keep playing for four or five more years the way he says he can, (Belichick could stay). And the competition – you continue to have these teams in your division that might be motivation.”
But there might be more to it than that.
“I think deep down he probably wants to demonstrate he can do this without Tom or he can win games without Tom and succeed at a high level,” Shaughnessy said. “And the coaching disparity is so great in the league right now, I believe that he can do that if he were to stick around. He’s a great football historian, and the only guys ahead of him now are Papa Bear Halas and Don Shula, who Belichick hates. So that would be motivation as well.”
Of course, if Brady plays for another four or five years, that would make Belichick’s pursuit more plausible – and more worthwhile.
Shaughnessy, though, doesn’t expect Brady to be playing at 45.
“You cannot do that,” he said. “I understand that the rules favor the quarterback, who can go longer now and play later in life and all that. But no, there’s reasons you don’t do it at 42, 43, 44. I don’t care how pliable Tom is or how much avocado ice cream he eats. Time waits for no man. That will eventually catch up with him. It has to. There’s a recent I can’t dunk anymore. That’s just the way it goes. So I think they got to be thinking of drafting this year and developing. It’s just not realistic to think that you can keep doing this with a 42-year-old guy.”