Is Tom Brady Human? The Patriots Had Better Hope Not After Jimmy Garoppolo Trade

Leave it to Bill Belichick to make a decision from way out of left field that leaves everyone, casual NFL fans and experts alike, scratching their heads and wondering, not for the first time or the last, "Where did that come from?"

The New England Patriots sent Jimmy Garoppolo to the San Francisco 49ers on Monday night, in return for a second-round pick in the 2018 NFL Draft, Adam Schefter of ESPN reported. Garoppolo, Brady’s backup in Foxborough, was drafted by the Patriots in the second round in 2014 and had been regarded as the future Hall of Famer’s heir apparent.

“I don’t know what that [the trade] means,” Brady said on Monday night in quotes reported by Pro Football Talk. “This is a week-to-week league. Things change so quickly from week to week, year to year...In my mind this is all about this season and us trying to win.  I’m trying to do the best I can do for our team like I always do.  I am going to bring it every single day like I’ve tried to do  for the last 18 years so you know I’m focused on this season and I’m sure everyone else in the organization is focused and we got to go out and got to try to—we got a bye week this week and we are going to go out and try to win next week.”

Brady, who turned 40 at the start of August, is enjoying another exceptional season under center for the 6-2 Patriots, who occupy first place in the AFC East. He has thrown 16 touchdowns and two interceptions through eight games for a quarterback rating of 106.5, according to NFL.com. In September, promoting his lifestyle book The TB12 Method, Brady told CBS he was, "Faster now and quicker now than when I first started playing football." It does seem feasible that he could play on, as he has suggested, into his mid-40s.

Nor did the Patriots have much choice. They would have preferred to keep Garoppolo as Brady’s backup, according to Pro Football Talk, with a new deal that would have paid him handsomely until Brady does, finally, retire. But the quarterback out of Eastern Illinois was apparently unwilling to wait behind someone who appears to be made out of titanium, rather than flesh and blood, any longer. With Garoppolo due to enter free agency in the 2018 offseason, the Patriots probably got the best deal they could for a player who was, up until Monday evening, the centerpiece of their post-Brady era.

On reflection, then—as usual with most of Belichick’s machinations—there is logic behind trading away Garoppolo. At the same time, having sent Jacoby Brissett to the Indianapolis Colts in the summer, Belichick has ensured he basically doesn’t have a quarterback depth chart. Brady has taken a beating this season behind a porous Patriots offensive line. He is remarkable—we have known that since he assumed the job from Drew Bledsloe more seasons ago than anyone cares to count. And his legacy of winning seasons, and Super Bowls, speaks to a man icier than perhaps anyone in the NFL when put under pressure. Which is a good job. The Patriots’ quarterback cupboard is bare. For the near-and-middle future, it’s Brady or bust.

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