San Francisco 49ers general manager John Lynch reportedly inquired about trading for quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo as early as this year's offseason and when initially rebuffed in those efforts asked whether Tom Brady was available.
With the Patriots unable to sign Garoppolo to a contract extension in the offseason, the team held onto him for the first half of the season as insurance against a Brady injury, per Ian Rapoport of NFL.com, before trading him to the Niners for a second-round pick prior to the trade deadline.
The fact that Garoppolo had previously made it known he wanted to be a starter made it unlikely he would have re-signed with the Patriots once he hit free agency. In that sense, trading him was the logical move for Belichick.
"It's just not sustainable the way things are set up," Belichick noted after the trade, per Karen Guregian of the Boston Herald. "It’s definitely not something we wanted to walk away from. I felt like we rode it out as long as we could. Over a period of time, we explored every option possible to try and sustain it. But, at this point, felt like we had to make a decision."
He added, "I have a tremendous amount of respect for Jimmy. I couldn't ask for him to give any more than what he's given us. The Niners 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 [in Kyle Shanahan]."
As for Lynch's (likely tongue-in-cheek) inquiries about Brady, that was never going to happen. As Rapoport reported, "Trading Brady was never an option and won't be an option for the Patriots. He will play as long as he wants, with the belief that the greatest QB of all time will know when to hang 'em up."
No, the Patriots aren't going to trade Brady, arguably the greatest quarterback of all time. All he's done is win five Super Bowls, four Super Bowl MVP awards and two league MVPs, leading the Patriots to one of the most impressive and sustained periods of success in NFL history.
But hey, you can't blame Lynch for asking.