The San Francisco 49ers started their new era with Kyle Shanahan and John Lynch with a flurry of moves. They decided to jettison a few people while also bringing in a slew of free agents this offseason. One of those free agents that was brought in was quarterback Brian Hoyer. The veteran quarterback has played in a few places around the NFL, but it was thought that he would be able to run the offense since he had one of his best seasons of his career when Shanahan was his offensive coordinator in Cleveland. The thinking was that he would be there to hand the baton to a younger quarterback. Well, after watching Hoyer struggle to get going in the offense, the 49ers decided to end the experiment and bench Hoyer in favor of rookie quarterback CJ Beathard, whom the 49ers drafted in the third round of this past draft. That started well but has fizzled out and many wondered where the 49ers could be going next with their search for a franchise quarterback. Those that were wondering what would happen got their answer pretty quickly because the 49ers pulled the trigger on getting that guy they think fits the bill. San Francisco sent their 2018 second-round pick to the New England Patriots for the services of New England's backup quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo. The trade seemingly came out of nowhere but if you really take a look at it, the trade of Garoppolo was going to happen sooner or later.
The New England Patriots came into this season with a 41 year old Tom Brady and two backups with some playing experience in Jacoby Brissett and Garoppolo. Many wondered who would be the option the Patriots would stick with as the heir apparent to Brady. Would it be Garoppolo, who the Patriots turned down several options for, or would it be Brissett, who showed promise when given the opportunity. When Brissett was moved to the Indianapolis Colts, it was assumed that Garoppolo would be back in New England and he would be the guy to take over for Brady when Brady hung up his cleats. Those thoughts quickly made us all wonder what was going on when we saw Brady's backup heading to the West Coast for a second-round pick. There were questions as to why now would be the perfect time and why they only got a second-round pick for him (other teams had reportedly offered more over the last couple of years). The Patriots, although they did not get as much back as they wanted, knew that it was time to let Jimmy G go. Next year Garoppolo was going to be a free agent and that meant having to either let him walk, pay him big money as a backup or at the worst, try to franchise tag him next offseason. All three scenarios seemed unlikely for a team that likes to get the most out of their draft picks, so they had to do what they had to do. Gone was Jimmy G and the Pats are now all in on Brady being around for even longer past his 41st birthday.
As for the 49ers, the Hoyer experiment did not work the way they wanted it to. The veteran quarterback was inconsistent and made some remedial mistakes that a vet should not be making at this time. He wasn't the only issue with the 49ers offense, but the quarterback is essentially the most important part of the offense. The 49ers missed their chance on a franchise quarterback in not taking Deshaun Watson in the 2017 draft and they were not sure Beathard was the answer, so they did what they felt they had to do and traded for Garoppolo. In getting Garoppolo, the 49ers give themselves what they feel is an upgrade at the quarterback position based off what they have seen from Jimmy G in action. Next summer they will probably sign him to a long-term deal and will give him the keys to the offense while building around him. The 49ers are hoping that he is able to jumpstart their rebuild and get them back to relevancy and for their sake, they better hope they are right. Brissett has had some individual success after moving on from the Patriots, but the most high-profile backup Brady had did not do so well after he moved on. Matt Cassel replaced Brady back in 2008 when Brady suffered a season-ending injury. Cassel led the Patriots to a 10-6 record and had 21 touchdowns and 11 interceptions during that season. The Chiefs were enamored by Cassel and made a trade to get him, but he would only have one really good season for them. The rest of the time, Cassel showed while he was a backup in New England and not a starter. For the sake of San Francisco, they better hope they don't get what the Chiefs got. And along with acquiring Garoppolo, the 49ers also decided to cut Hoyer (who will more than likely return to New England to be Tom Brady's backup), so now all the 49ers' chips are definitely pushed to the middle of the table with Jimmy G.
The 49ers took advantage of an opportunity that they could not pass up. On the other side, the Patriots had to get some return on their investment. Either way, both got something they wanted. On the surface, it seems like the 49ers got a potential franchise quarterback for cheap, but like we all know, Belichick always thinks more than a few steps ahead of everyone else. We shall see what else he has in place for the rest of the NFL after this latest move.