Report: Bill Belichick Spoke to Giants, WFT, Dolphins After Garoppolo TradeApril 20, 2021
The ramifications of the New England Patriots' decision to trade Jimmy Garoppolo early in the 2017 season could have cost them head coach Bill Belichick.
Appearing on The Harrison Vapnek Podcast (h/t 95.7 The Game), ESPN's Seth Wickersham reported Belichick spoke with the New York Giants, Washington Football Team and Miami Dolphins about their head coaching openings during the 2018 offseason:
"At the time, I think there was a sense that Brady wasn't going anywhere and Bill left the impression that he might be open to a move. There were some reports that came out at the time that the Giants were looking at him. I think he talked to the Washington Football Team and the Dolphins about sort of their openings. And it was unclear whether he was interested or not, but he was still talking to them and subsequent reporting has only sort of shown how in that offseason, Brady skipped the offseason program for the first time in his career and he had just kind of had enough."
In a piece that published on ESPN.com in January 2018, Wickersham wrote about the power struggle happening within the Patriots organization between Belichick, Tom Brady and owner Robert Kraft.
Garoppolo was a key figure in that struggle, with Wickersham noting that Belichick wanted to keep him on the roster as an option at quarterback rather than continuing to commit to a then-40-year-old Brady for multiple years.
Wickersham wrote in his report that "Belichick didn't want to trade Garoppolo" and declined offers to move him prior to the 2017 season "when Garoppolo was in high demand."
The Patriots traded Garoppolo to the San Francisco 49ers on Oct. 31, 2017, for a 2018 second-round draft pick after a meeting between Belichick and Kraft two weeks earlier.
"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," Wickersham wrote.
Garoppolo was New England's second-round draft pick in 2014. He started two games during the 2016 season when Brady was serving a four-game suspension. The Eastern Illinois alum looked impressive, throwing for 502 yards and four touchdowns with a 68.3 completion percentage.
The reported decision by Belichick to speak with multiple teams about their head coaching openings came in the same season that the Patriots advanced to Super Bowl LII before losing to the Philadelphia Eagles.
Brady wound up staying in New England for two more seasons, leading the team to another Super Bowl win in 2019 over the Los Angeles Rams. He signed with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers as a free agent in March 2020.
Belichick is entering his 22nd season as Patriots head coach. The 69-year-old has a 244-92 record with 17 AFC East titles and six Super Bowl wins with the organization.