Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the lord, and it looks like Jimmy Garoppolo in a 49ers uniform. For the first time since Jim Harbaugh was canned at the end of the 2014 season, the 49ers have been fun, and interesting, and there has been a glimmer of hope, led by the concerningly attractive man who seemed unstoppable in the five games he started for the Niners.
And to think, for all of that, we have San Mateo’s own Tom Brady to thank.
If you missed ESPN’s story this morning about Brady, Bill Belichick, and (in a few important cameos) Robert Kraft, I implore you to give it a read now. For the rest of you, here is one big takeaway: Brady’s rapidly increasing insecurity about his career was rewarded by Kraft approving of a fire sale on the team’s promising backup QB.
The story says that Brady wasn’t much of a mentor to Garoppolo (which might make his strong success out of the gate as a starter all the more impressive), and that at one point, Garoppolo went to visit Brady’s quack-ass “trainer” Alex Guerrero—truly the Yoko Ono of this story—and was straight-up locked out of the facility.
It’s petty, which I can respect, in no small part because it was part of a personnel circus that led to the team I love and have struggled to enjoy watching to get a shot at what was essentially an audition to impress Garoppolo. But what I find really interesting, and have for a while, is that Brady and Garoppolo share an agent, Don Yee.
Yee is no Drew Rosenhaus or, to cross over a bit, Scott Boras. He has a small roster of clients, most of them not very notable (really, it’s mostly just Brady, Garoppolo, and Julian Edelman), and I have wondered for a while about the obvious conflict of interest in him representing Brady and his backup.
Here’s a relevant bit (emphasis mine):
The Patriots repeatedly offered Garoppolo four-year contract extensions, in the $17 million to $18 million range annually that would go higher if and when he succeeded Brady. Garoppolo and Yee rejected the offers out of hand, for reasons that remain unclear, and the Patriots knew they couldn’t make any promises to Garoppolo about the timing of a transition at quarterback without it getting back to Brady.
That’s pretty funny to me. The Patriots really had to choose between setting themselves up for success going forward—come on, he’s 40 fucking years old, there is and will be a future without Brady, and very soon—or appeasing their temperamental and fussy quarterback who has defined the franchise and the sport for nearly 20 years. Good shit.
Eventually, Belichick realized he was defeated and gave a call to Kyle Shanahan, who he reportedly met with during the combine after Shanahan’s offense rolled over in that ridiculous Super Bowl.
The conspiracy theory I wish to peddle, and will use my platform on this blog to peddle, is that Brady somehow choreographed this to help his and my childhood team. That Brady hated seeing the Niners twist in the wind without any sense of direction or purpose, and knew that the 49ers had desired Garoppolo during the previous season and that if he pushed him out the door using his ego and legendary stature, he might save the team he loved as a kid, and preserve his own position in power. It’s a win-win, really. He gets his place back at center stage, alone, guarding the position like a territorial dog while everyone bends to his whims, and the 49ers become relevant again.
The 49ers will undoubtedly tag Garoppolo this offseason, and they better be backing up the Brinks truck to sign him to a longer deal. Garoppolo, of course, has all the leverage in the world right now, but I like to think the 49ers made a good impression.
So, Tom, from all of us in scarlet and gold, thanks. Just keep being yourself, you salty, salty bastard.