On the night the Patriots drafted Jimmy Garoppolo in the second round more than three years ago, adding him to a quarterback room that featured Tom Brady and Ryan Mallett, Bill Belichick explained his team's reasoning.
"We know what Ryan’s contract situation is. We know what Tom’s age and contract situation is," Belichick said. "I don’t think you want to have one quarterback on your team. I don’t think that’s responsible to the entire team or the organization."
Now that the team has opted to send Garoppolo to the 49ers for a second-round pick, that's what the Patriots are at the moment: A one-quarterback team.
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It won't last long, of course. They'll bring in someone to back up Brady in the immediate future. Then perhaps in the spring, during what is considered to be a draft loaded with quarterback talent, they'll add a longer-term option as the No. 2.
But let's focus on the here-and-now: Who will be the next man up should Brady be forced to miss any time in 2017?
The first and most obvious option might be former 49ers quarterback Brian Hoyer. Soon after the news of the Garoppolo trade was confirmed, ESPN reported that Hoyer had been released by San Francisco. And NFL Network reported that Hoyer was actually included in the trade initially.
Hoyer signed with the Patriots as an undrafted free agent in 2009 and spent three seasons in New England as Brady's backup. Since being released before the start of the 2012 season, he's spent time with the Steelers, Cardinals, Browns, Texans, Bears and Niners.
This season in San Francisco he has completed 119 of 205 attempts (58 percent) for 1,245 yards, four touchdowns and four interceptions. For his career, the 32-year-old carries a 59.3 completion percentage and he's thrown 48 touchdowns against 30 picks.
Other backup options for the Patriots now that they're without Garoppolo and 2016 third-round pick Jacoby Brissett, who was dealt to the Colts earlier this season in exchange for receiver Phillip Dorsett?
The Patriots have reportedly worked out three quarterbacks who are still available, including Matt Barkley, Thad Lewis and Matt McGloin.
According to ESPN's Mike Reiss, the Patriots also worked out quarterback Garrett Grayson earlier this month. The 26-year-old, a third-round pick of the Saints in 2015, signed with the Falcons practice squad soon thereafter.
Another option might be former Vikings quarterback Taylor Heinicke, who was with the Patriots practice squad in late September and early October before being released. An undrafted player in 2015, Heinicke had an impressive preseason during his rookie year and ended up as the team's third-string quarterback. He dealt with injuries last season and had trouble re-gaining his first-year form this summer.
The player who makes the most sense would be Hoyer because of his experience and his background in the Patriots offense. But just because it makes sense doesn't mean it will happen.
Just a few hours ago it made all the sense in the world for Belichick to hold onto Garoppolo for the remainder of the 2017 season.