The comfiest quarterback room in the NFL got significantly less cozy Monday.
"We probably had, in my opinion, the best quarterback situation in the league for the last -- let's call it two-and-a-half years -- it's just not sustainable given the way that things are set up," Belichick said. "It's definitely not something that we wanted to walk away from and I felt like we rode it out as long as we could. We over a period of time explored every option possible to try to sustain it, but just at this point felt like we had to make a decision. It's a very complex situation on multiple levels and this is really the last window that we had and we did what we felt was best for the team."
It's rare to see Belichick give up this kind of insight into his mindset and his football team, however obvious and necessary the move was for the Pats. In order to keep Garoppolo past this season, New England would have had to either sign the backup to a pricey long-term deal or slap him with an even pricier franchise tag. With Brady still playing at G.O.A.T. levels, that just wasn't feasible. But to hear Belichick be so candid about that, and tell reporters he tried everything he could to avoid the inevitable situation that took place when the Niners offered a 2018 high second-round pick for the QB, was surprising to hear from the normally stoic coach nonetheless.
"The 49ers are getting a good player, and they're getting a good person, and they're getting a great teammate and they're getting a good quarterback," Belichick said. "Jimmy is getting a good coach. His career is moving forward. He's a talented individual, was a great person to coach. I met with him weekly and, again, have a tremendous amount of respect for him."
Nobody is going to cry for Belichick or the Pats, though. Brady is still peak Brady. The Pats still got a high pick for a player that might or might not be an effective starter in the league. NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport reported the Patriots could still add veteran Brian Hoyer, who was released by the 49ers after they acquired Garoppolo, to be Brady's backup.
So New England is still going to New England, even if Belichick was sad about it for a few days this week.