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Two Separate Articles Keep the Jimmy Garoppolo Trade Myths Alive

Jimmy G

As we swim away from the emotional shipwreck that has been 2018’s Offseason of Our Discontent and crawl our way onto the beach of 2018 Patriots training camp, two long – with my apologies, very, very long – profiles of Jimmy Garoppolo have hit the internet. Both are interesting profiles of Jimmy GQ, with him offering more about himself than he ever has. But each is also so filled with revisionist history, enduring myths about the circumstances of his trade from New England to San Fran and flat-out falsehoods that they’re worth going yet again.

Bleacher ReportTen hours after Bill Belichick called to tell him he’d been traded to the Niners, Jimmy Garoppolo almost died. [Allow me to interject. It was a car accident. Fortunately for him, he sustained no injuries. Fortunately for the rest of us, the crash did nothing to alter his exquisitely handsome face.] The Patriots had received a better offer from the Browns—multiple high-round draft picks—but Belichick believed San Francisco offered more possibilities for the young quarterback; he settled for a second-rounder. When a report surfaced that Tom Brady played a role in the exit of his own protégé, Garoppolo felt grateful that he didn’t have to answer questions in public, high-tailing straight outta Boston. …

He is hard to miss, Jimmy is, with that Superman chisel and all, a comparison he’s heard multiple times. … Is Jimmy Garoppolo really that perfect? That humble? The second coming of Brady, on and off the field? Or is he more like Graduation-era Kanye: Dude, you really still trying to convince us you’re some kind of underdog? …

In the three full seasons with Jimmy backing him up, Brady produced arguably the best stretch of his career, completing 65.1 percent of passes, throwing for 97 touchdowns against 18 interceptions and posting a QB rating of 103.1…all at ages 37 to 39. …

“The competitiveness between the two of us was very similar. If I’m playing my best friend in one-on-one basketball, if we are both into it, by the end, we are going to hate each other,” Jimmy says. “That’s how it is. All the good competitors have that. We got along, but there were always times where we wanted to kill each other. It was a healthy, competitive relationship.” … His confident side thought he could—maybe one day—beat out Brady on the depth chart. It was, after all, the one best-laid plan he could control: Only Jimmy Garoppolo was going to steal Tom Brady’s job.

“I’ve always had that mindset,” Jimmy says. …

In college, Jimmy and [his buddy] Wurm watched Entourage together—every season, three or four times—and Jimmy never really related to Vincent Chase, the show’s movie-star protagonist. … Five weeks later, the paparazzi will catch Jimmy on a date with an adult film star, not unlike his Entourage counterpart.

The MMQBJimmy Garoppolo is standing at the 40-yard line, play sheet in hand. It’s June, mid-minicamp in Santa Clara, Calif. … never mind the two banners that adorn one corner of Levi’s Stadium. Printed on one, under a photo of Hall of Famer Joe Montana, are the words “FAITHFUL THEN.” On the other, under a photo of Garoppolo: “FAITHFUL NOW.” No pressure, Jimmy. …

[In 2013] Eastern Illinois was a two-TD underdog at San Diego State, but Garoppolo led the Panthers to a 21-point victory, throwing for 361 yards and three touchdowns. After watching film of Garoppolo dissecting the Aztecs, the coach of SDSU’s next opponent, Ohio State’s Urban Meyer, announced to the nation, “Eastern has really one of the best quarterbacks I’ve ever seen.” …

The quickness of his release, [EIU coach Dino] Babers likes to say, is second only to Dan Marino. ..

In 2016, when Brady served his four-game Deflategate suspension, Garoppolo got his chance to start. … and Belichick continued to dole out praise. Later that fall, in response to a question about Brady, he noted, “when we put Jimmy in there, it’s really seamless.” Even if no one knew when the Patriots would anoint Brady’s successor, most felt they knew who that successor would be.

Nate Solder, a fixture on New England’s offensive line for seven seasons, saw it the same way: “I thought it was a Brett Favre-Aaron Rodgers situation.” …

On Oct. 30, 2017 … Belichick reconnected with [Kyle] Shanahan, offering Garoppolo in exchange for the 49ers’ 2018 second-round pick. “It was almost too good to be true,” says Shanahan’s father, Mike. …

ESPN reported in January that Patriots owner Robert Kraft had mandated that Belichick trade Garoppolo. (The team denied the story but has not commented on specifics. Belichick, through a spokesman, declined to be interviewed for this story.) … One thing is for certain, though: The coach didn’t go through his normal process. Which is to say, he didn’t milk the asset for every last drop. The Browns, as has been widely reported, were willing to offer more for Garoppolo than what the 49ers exchanged. Was Belichick’s hand forced? Was he determined to place Garoppolo where he’d have the best chance of success? …

Last December, following the trade, a sort of weekly ritual began: After each of Garoppolo’s starts for the 49ers, he received a text from the coach who had traded him, congratulating him on another win.

Again, sorry for the length of those excerpts. But like I said, there’s a lot to these articles. And I cut out butt tons, believe me. But allow me to boil these buckets of sap down into a thick, sweet, mapley syrup and drizzle it onto your waffles for you.

Jimmy Garoppolo – and I take a back seat to no one when it comes to my emotional and hetero-normative attachment to the man – is, depending on whom your talking to, Superman, the second coming of Tom Brady, Kayne, Vincent Chase, Joe Montana, Dan Marino, one of the best QBs ever seen, and Aaron Rodgers. Bill Belichick knew this. He planned to have Garoppolo replace Tom Brady. Garoppolo planned on replacing Brady because he believes he is better. Brady, the most accomplished, winningest QB in the history of the world and still at the top of his game, was suddenly threatened by the prospect. So he went over Belichick’s head to the Kraft family, who forced the man who built their empire to make a trade he didn’t want.

Belichick sent his Hall of Fame quarterback and the next Kayne to San Francisco for 10 cents on the dollar, ignoring a much, much better offer from Cleveland. Either out of his love for Jimmy G or, reading between the lines, out of spite for having his hand forced by ownership.

That pretty much sums it up, right? Except for a couple of things. Namely, facts. Those annoying little truths that all too often get in the way to fuck up an otherwise good story. In this case, that the Browns made no such offer.

A report confirmed by none other than Hue Jackson’s own daughter, in a now deleted Tweet:

Hue Jackson

There’s your revisionist history. The idea that Cleveland had their wallet full of first rounders out and were ready to lay them down for Garoppolo is patently false. As is the lunatic notion that the most hyper-competitive GM in the history of sports, who would grind his Pro Bowl veterans into Soylent Green and feed them to his younger players to keep his dynasty going would ever let ownership force him to make a personnel move of any kind. They did that to him in 2000, when VP Andy Waszynczuk signed Drew Bledsoe to the richest deal in NFL history. I hasn’t happened since.

There is no doubt in my mind whatsoever that Belichick has an affinity for Garoppolo. He drafted and developed him. Worked with him for 3 1/2 seasons. Enough that he’d lean toward sending him to the best situation he could, provided the return was there. And it doesn’t surprise me at all he’d text the kid as he finally got his shot and did well. I’d be surprised if he hadn’t done the same with Jacoby Brissett, Matt Cassell or anyone else who parted ways on good terms. Including Brian Hoyer, who let’s not forget was a key piece of the Garoppolo trade because he’s a reliable backup they trust who knows the system, something Cleveland or no other team could have provided. And that’s something that came dangerously close to mattering when Brady gashed his throwing hand in the middle of the playoffs.

Finally, I have no doubt Belichick developed Garappolo with the full intention of having him take over when Brady’s career entered that undiscovered country from whose bourn no traveler returns. The monkey in the wrench wasn’t Brady lobbying to get his chief competition traded a conference and a continent away; It was how well Brady played. He won the MVP. Carried his team through the playoffs, Frankenstein hand and all. He threw for 500 yards against an elite Philly defense in the Super Bowl. And the same people who are buying into this myth that Belichick was forced to trade him, would be killing him right now if he took the keys away from Brady right now and handed them to a guy who a total of six quarters of competitive pro football on his resume. Just because of Brady’s date of birth. Absolutely killing him. And they’d be right. The problem with making the switch to Garoppolo now is that the GOAT is playing too well not to keep riding him to the end of his career. And that is the Champagne Problem of all Champagne Problems.

tl;dr. Seriously, I’m rooting for Garoppolo goes 14-2 and goes to the Super Bowl. But enough of hype and fake news. And this gawdawful offseason. Let’s start camp already.