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Report: Patriots owner Kraft forced Belichick to trade Garoppolo

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Report: Patriots owner Kraft forced Belichick to trade Garoppolo

New England owner Robert Kraft demanded coach Bill Belichick trade quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo in a meeting that lasted half the day, just two weeks before the NFL trade deadline, according to an explosive behind-the-scenes report from ESPN.

Garoppolo was scheduled to be an unrestricted free agent at the end of the season. And Garoppolo and his agent, Don Yee, had repeatedly rejected Patriots offers to retain Garoppolo on a four-year contract extension worth “in the $17 million to $18 million range annually,” reported ESPN’s Seth Wickersham. The Patriots sent Garoppolo to the 49ers because Belichick believed Garoppolo would thrive under 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan, according to the report.

The Patriots could not guarantee a time when Garoppolo would take over as the team’s starting quarterback. Quarterback Tom Brady, who turns 41 in August, has stated he expects to play until he’s 45 years old. He has a close relationship with Kraft.

Belichick was “furious and demoralized” that he was ordered to trade Garoppolo, according to the report, citing friends. On the morning of Oct. 30, he sent a text message to Shanahan asking him to call him back. Belichick asked for a second-round draft pick in exchange for Garoppolo.

General manager John Lynch and Shanahan have said it did not take the 49ers long to get on the same page and accept the trade. But the 49ers have been careful not to talk about the details of how the deal fell into place.

“I do want to thank the New England Patriots,” Lynch said on Oct. 31, shortly after Garoppolo arrived in Santa Clara. “I think it's refreshing to find people where you cannot belabor things. You bring something up and you come to a quick resolution and you don't grind people out. That's what we were able to do. So, I want to thank them, and I have a lot of respect for that organization.

“In talking with the Patriots, one of the things, we're not going to get into a ton of details.”

Even as late as Tuesday, Lynch was evasive when asked whether her has spoken to Belichick during Garoppolo’s run of success as a starter.

“We don’t talk about that,” Lynch said with a smile. “We’re onto the offseason.”

According to the report, Belichick has taken pride in the fact Garoppolo played well and led the 49ers to a 5-0 record as the starter. And Brady was described as the winner of the whole struggle, one Patriots staffer told ESPN, because the team’s new backup, former 49ers starter Brian Hoyer, is not a threat and the owner of the team sided with Brady and his plan to play for years to come.

The report states that Brady is “famously unhelpful” to the quarterbacks behind him on the depth chart, especially those he considers a threat. Garoppolo was a threat.

Garoppolo started the first two games of the 2016 season while Brady was serving a four-game suspension for his role in the scandal to deflate footballs below NFL requirements.

In the second game, Garoppolo sustained a shoulder injury and sought treatment at TB12 Sports Therapy Center, which is run by Alex Guerrero, Brady’s trainer and business partner.

But, according to the report, when Garoppolo showed up for his appointment, the doors were locked and none of the TB12 trainers he called answered their phones. Garoppolo went to the team’s athletic trainers instead. Guerrero denied to ESPN that he ever refused to see any player. But according to the report it was two weeks later that Garoppolo was treated at TB12, and that came only after a “high-ranking” member of the Patriots called to ask why Garoppolo had not been treated.

So why did Belichick deliver Garoppolo to the 49ers? Belichick admires Shanahan and his father, Mike Shanahan, the two-time Super Bowl-winning coach of the Denver Broncos.

At the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis, just weeks after Shanahan played a role as the offensive coordinator in the Atlanta Falcons’ meltdown loss to the Patriots in the Super Bowl, he met “for hours” with Belichick to learn from the loss, according to the report.

It has previously been reported that the 49ers asked Belichick about the availability of Garoppolo in a trade as far back as during that time in February. At that point, Belichick told the 49ers that he was not interested in trading Garoppolo.

***

The Patriots issued the following statement on Friday morning. 

Eric Reid presents Colin Kaepernick Ambassador of Conscience Award

Eric Reid presents Colin Kaepernick Ambassador of Conscience Award

AMSTERDAM — Amnesty International gave former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick its Ambassador of Conscience Award on Saturday for his kneeling protest of racial injustice that launched a sports movement and might have cost him his job.

Onetime San Francisco 49ers teammate Eric Reid presented Kaepernick with the award during a ceremony in Amsterdam, the capital of the Netherlands.

In his acceptance speech, the award-winner described police killings of African Americans and Latinos in the United States as lawful lynchings.

"Racialized oppression and dehumanization is woven into the very fabric of our nation — the effects of which can be seen in the lawful lynching of black and brown people by the police, and the mass incarceration of black and brown lives in the prison industrial complex," Kaepernick said.

Kaepernick first took a knee during the pre-game playing of the American national anthem when he was with the 49ers in 2016 to protest police brutality.

"How can you stand for the national anthem of a nation that preaches and propagates, 'freedom and justice for all,' that is so unjust to so many of the people living there?" he said at Saturday's award ceremony.

Other players joined his protest in the 2016 season, drawing the ire of President Donald Trump, who called for team owners to fire such players.

In response to the player demonstrations, the NFL agreed to commit $90 million over the next seven years to social justice causes in a plan.

Kaepernick wasn't signed for the 2017 season following his release in San Francisco.

Reid, a safety who is now a free agent, continued Kaepernick's protests by kneeling during the anthem last season. Reid has said he will take a different approach in 2018.

Kaepernick paid tribute to his friend for his own role in the protest movement.

"Eric introducing me for this prestigious award brings me great joy," Kaepernick said. "But I am also pained by the fact that his taking a knee, and demonstrating courage to protect the rights of black and brown people in America, has also led to his ostracization from the NFL when he is widely recognized as one of the best competitors in the game and in the prime of his career."

Amnesty hands its award each year to a person or organization, "dedicated to fighting injustice and using their talents to inspire others."

Amnesty International Secretary General Salil Shetty called Kaepernick "an athlete who is now widely recognized for his activism because of his refusal to ignore or accept racial discrimination."

Previous recipients of the award include anti-Apartheid campaigner and South African President Nelson Mandela and Malala Yousafzai, the Pakistani schoolgirl who campaigned for girls' right to education even after surviving being shot by Taliban militants.

"In truth, this is an award that I share with all of the countless people throughout the world combating the human rights violations of police officers, and their uses of oppressive and excessive force," Kaepernick said.

Five NFL Draft options if 49ers make first-round trade

Five NFL Draft options if 49ers make first-round trade

The 49ers have their starting and backup quarterbacks on the roster for at least the next three seasons. That luxury opens up their draft options to concentrate on other areas.

Quarterbacks Sam Darnold, Josh Allen, Baker Mayfield and Josh Rosen could be selected within the first eight picks of the draft. If those four quarterbacks are chosen, it means the 49ers will get – at worst – the fifth-ranked player on their draft board.

And if there is still one of those quarterbacks available when the 49ers go on the clock at No. 9 overall, it invites the possibility of a trade-back option.

The 49ers could trade back and still get one of the five players – Tremaine Edmunds, Roquan Smith, Minkah Fitzpatrick, Harold Landry or Marcus Davenport – highlighted as first-round draft options.

But if the 49ers move further back or acquire an additional pick in the first round, here are some of their options...

OT Mike McGlinchey, Notre Dame
The 49ers must start thinking about a time when two new offensive tackles are going to be required. McGlinchey (6-8, 312) began his career at right tackle before shifting to the left side. That versatility could come in handy for the 49ers, as right tackle Trent Brown enters the final year of his contract and might not be back in 2019. Moreover, six-time Pro Bowl left tackle Joe Staley is 34 years old, and it is uncertain how much longer he can play at a high level. McGlinchey has the athleticism that Shanahan covets. He began high school as a tight end and also played on the basketball team.

OT Kolton Miller, UCLA
Miller is an exceptional athlete who should get better and better. He ran the third-fastest time among offensive linemen at the combine and placed near the top of all the other agility drills. Miller started off his college career on the right side before shifting over to protect the blind side of quarterback Josh Rosen. With any offensive lineman the 49ers select, the club could consider having him begin his career at guard before moving him to tackle whenever the need arises.

CB Josh Jackson, Iowa
Jackson was among the 49ers’ final pre-draft visits to Santa Clara. The team needs another cornerback to join presumptive starters Richard Sherman and Ahkello Witherspoon. At 6-0 3/8, Jackson is not as tall as initially advertised, but his style of play and long arms would fit well within the 49ers’ scheme. He has great instincts, as shown by his nation-leading eight interceptions and 26 pass breakups.

WR Calvin Ridley, Alabama
The consensus best wide receiver in the draft could provide Jimmy Garoppolo and Kyle Shanahan with another option in the passing game to join starters Pierre Garçon and Marquise Goodwin. Garçon is the possession receiver and Goodwin is the deep threat. Ridley is versatile and polished, which makes him a nice chess piece to utilize early in his career for specific matchups.

WR Courtland Sutton, SMU
It should be noted that the 49ers like their receiver corps, a group that also includes Trent Taylor, Aldrick Robinson and Kendrick Bourne. But Sutton (6-3, 219) would give the 49ers more size to exploit matchups. He gets high marks off the field. There is no rush to get him out there before he is ready. The 49ers can take their time to develop him, as they would have him under their control contractually for five seasons. He has spent time learning from Anquan Boldin.