49ers

NFL rumors: Bill Belichick offering Tom Brady to 49ers led QB to leave

NFL rumors: Bill Belichick offering Tom Brady to 49ers led QB to leave

The contract hasn't been signed, but Tom Brady will be a Tampa Bay Buccaneer in 2020.

After two-plus decades. Brady decided to leave the New England Patriots for greener pastures away from Bill Belichick in Florida. But how did we get here?

Brady's decision reportedly wasn't made on a whim. The wheels for him to move on from the Pats were set in motion three years ago, sources told Bleacher Report's Matt Miller.

As the 2017 season approached, the Patriots faced a conundrum about what to do with their future at quarterback. Brady was aging, and then-25-year-old Jimmy Garoppolo was waiting in the wings. When would be the right time to move on from the greatest quarterback in history?

The 49ers called at the trade deadline, and after general manager John Lynch claims he jokingly asked about Brady, the teams agreed on a deal that sent Garoppolo to the Bay Area.

But that might not have been how it went down.

According to Miller, the 49ers originally called about Garoppolo, but Belichick instead offered Brady, wanting to keep the young quarterback to extend the Patriots' dynasty. A Patriots source confirmed to Miller that this is what happened, but team owner Robert Kraft squashed the idea of trading Brady.

"Kraft shut that s--t down fast," a source close to Belichick told Miller. "So, instead, Lynch gets Garoppolo, but Brady, Belichick and Kraft haven't been the same since Tom learned that Bill was ready to get rid of him. And that lit a fire under his ass."

Brady, fueled by Belichick's desire to ditch him for Garoppolo, took the Patriots to two more Super Bowls, winning one. All the while, the legendary quarterback restructured his deal, so the Patriots wouldn't be able to franchise tag him and he'd be free to leave.

After the Patriots were eliminated by the Tennessee Titans in the AFC wild-card round last season, Brady made no attempt to contact the Patriots about a new deal, per reports. Belichick didn't make some grand gesture to mend fences, either. So on Tuesday, Brady announced he'd be leaving the Patriots to pen his final NFL chapter elsewhere.

[RELATED: How Brady joining Bucs makes 49ers' schedule less daunting]

The Bucs weren't always Brady's endgame, but it appears leaving the Patriots might have been in the cards for a while.

Brady reportedly preferred to go to the 49ers, but Lynch and coach Kyle Shanahan elected to stick with Garoppolo, sending Brady to choose between the Bucs, Raiders and Los Angeles Chargers.

Brady's plan to leave the Patriots will end with him heading to Tampa, whenever the deal is finalized. And it reportedly started three years ago, when Belichick tried to ship Brady away and fractured the greatest dynasty in sports in the process.

Akiem Hicks shades Mike Glennon to argue Colin Kaepernick blackballed

Akiem Hicks shades Mike Glennon to argue Colin Kaepernick blackballed

Chicago Bears defensive tackle Akiem Hicks needed just four words to sum up why he thought former 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick had been blackballed by the NFL.

"We signed Mike Glennon."

Hicks said as much in a video press conference with reporters Wednesday, referring to Chicago's decision to sign Glennon to a contract worth $18.5 million guaranteed in 2017. Kaepernick, who had kneeled during the national anthem before games to protest police brutality and institutional racism throughout the 2016 season, went unsigned that entire offseason and since then.

Kaepernick's protest has received renewed attention as protestors demonstrate around the world against the same societal issues the QB sought to highlight. George Floyd, a 46-year-old African American man, died last Monday in Minneapolis police custody after a white police officer pressed his knee into Floyd's neck for nearly nine minutes as he pleaded that he couldn't breathe. Floyd's death also occurred within months of Louisville police fatally shooting a 26-year-old African American woman named Breonna Taylor, and nearly four months after two white men allegedly followed and shot Ahmaud Arbery, a 25-year-old African American man, as he jogged in his Georgia neighborhood.

Kaepernick argued his protest against police brutality cost him his job as part of a collusion lawsuit he ultimately settled with the NFL last February, and he has been a free agent since opting out of his contract with the 49ers -- after they said they would release him otherwise -- in 2017. Former 49ers teammate Alex Smith said last month it's "absurd" Kaepernick, who led San Francisco to a Super Bowl appearance and an NFC Championship Game berth in back-to-back seasons, has not been employed by an NFL team since then.

“I think he would have gotten a good deal if he had not protested,” Hicks said. “Does he have all the qualifications that we seem to be looking for in NFL quarterbacks? Athletic. He can get the ball down the field. I think that he fits a lot of those categories. Do I know if he would have gotten a huge deal and gone onto be a Hall of Fame quarterback? I don’t know these things. I just know that when he took a knee, he was silenced -- or they attempted to silence him.”

Some of Kaepernick's critics argued he played his way out of a job. Yes, the 49ers went just 1-10 after a healthy Kaepernick regained the starting job from Blaine Gabbert in 2016. But the QB posted a 90.1 passer rating and 16 touchdowns (to four interceptions), all while playing on a team that current general manager John Lynch and coach Kyle Shanahan couldn't wait to strip for spare parts the following offseason.

Nine 49ers caught at least 10 passes from Kaepernick in 2016, and seven didn't return to San Francisco the following season. Only one of those nine players, depth tight end Garrett Celek, was on the 49ers' roster in 2019. Three haven't played in an NFL game since then, and another (Rod Streater) has only played in three games -- all in 2018 -- during that time.

[RELATED: Shanahan believes Jimmy G has ability to be "all-time" great]

Of course, the Bears might have seen enough when Kaepernick completed just one of five passes for 4 yards against Chicago in the middle of a December snowstorm. Kaepernick's 45 snaps in that game could've been plenty, considering Glennon played all of 15 snaps in 2016 before the Bears signed him to a three-year contract worth up to $45 million.

But Glennon didn't last a season as the Bears' starter, losing his job to Mitchell Trubisky -- who the Bears selected with the No. 2 overall pick in the 2017 NFL Draft following a trade with the 49ers -- after just four games. The Bears eventually cut Glennon in 2018.

Glennon has played for three teams since then, and Kaepernick hasn't played for one.

“What I will say is this, though: It’s not a Chicago problem, it’s an entire-league problem," Hicks said of Kaepernick remaining unsigned. "There’s 31 other teams.”

[49ERS INSIDER PODCAST: Listen to the latest episode]

Why 49ers' George Kittle 'loves' playing for head coach Kyle Shanahan

Why 49ers' George Kittle 'loves' playing for head coach Kyle Shanahan

George Kittle has rapidly ascended during his three NFL seasons. Originally a fifth-round draft pick in 2017, Kittle has become one of the league's best tight ends playing in coach Kyle Shanahan's offense.

When asked what it's like to play for the young head coach, Kittle couldn't be more thrilled about having Shanahan at the helm in San Francisco.

"Awesome, Kyle is the man, I love playing for him," Kittle told Will Compton and Taylor Lewan on this week's episode of the "Bussin' With The Boys" podcast. "One of my favorite things about him is he just loves football so much. And when you have a guy that loves football and its not work for him, it makes it pretty easy to play for the guy. He doesn't have to give a pump-up speech, you can just tell how much it means to him."

[49ERS INSIDER PODCAST: Listen to the latest episode]

Kittle also appreciates that Shanahan doesn't beat around the bush when it comes to communicating with his players.

"He's just straight up with everybody," Kittle said. "We were 4-12 (in 2018), and he still got up in front of the team and didn't bulls--t us or anything like, he's like, 'This is why we're not good, this is what we have to do to be better, we just have to work hard and practice better.' So he's always straight up with us."

[RELATED: Steve Young wants 49ers' Kyle Shanahan to challenge Jimmy Garoppolo]

He certainly has evoked a similar reaction from many of his players, as Shanahan's passion helped players gravitate towards the head coach.

Shanahan, Kittle and the rest of the 49ers' roster will come to training camp hungry, looking to avenge a heartbreaking loss to the Kansas City Chiefs in Super Bowl LIV.