The 49ers have their franchise quarterback in Jimmy Garoppolo, but it took some time to pry him away from the Patriots.
San Francisco coach Kyle Shanahan told Albert Breer of SI.com that he approached New England coach Bill Belichick at last year’s Scouting Combine and asked about Garoppolo, only to have Belichick shut him down quickly.
“I remember asking Bill personally down at the Combine about Jimmy, and very quickly he told me that wasn’t a possibility. So we moved on from that. He told me he wasn’t going to trade him,” Shanahan said.
So what changed in the eight months between the Combine and the trade deadline, when the Patriots agreed to send Garoppolo to San Francisco for a second-round draft pick? The ESPN article about friction in New England suggested that Robert Kraft forced Belichick to trade Garoppolo so there wouldn’t be an heir apparent to Tom Brady in the building. That’s one theory.
But it may simply be that Belichick saw the writing on the wall: With Garoppolo’s Patriots contract coming to an end, it wasn’t realistic to think they were going to spend the kind of money it would have taken to keep Garoppolo as Brady’s backup, and it would make more sense to spend that money on keeping a good roster around Brady. And so Belichick, who previously told the 49ers he wouldn’t let them have Garoppolo, changed his mind and changed the future of the 49ers franchise.