Instead of maximizing their window for another Super Bowl run in 2014, the New England Patriots chose to install a second window to potentially be opened later.
Armchair general managers would have loved for the Patriots to draft a tight end or a wide receiver with their second-round pick. But Patriots quarterback Tom Brady wasn't surprised when his team picked a quarterback — Eastern Illinois' Jimmy Garoppolo — in the second round.
"I had a pretty good idea we'd take a quarterback," Brady said, according to Peter King of TheMMQB.com. "Coach Belichick doesn't care who the quarterback is here. He's always going to play the guy who he thinks gives him the best chance to win. It's not my role to choose players here, thankfully. And this is not the first time they've taken another quarterback either. There's no entitlement in the NFL. I don't expect to be given anything. I just hope I'm the one most entitled to play that position for a long time here."
Brady had no reason to be surprised. The Patriots scouted many of the top quarterback prospects in this year's draft, bringing in the likes of Johnny Manziel and Teddy Bridgewater for official pre-draft visits to Gillette Stadium.
In three of the past seven years, the Patriots have selected a quarterback with one of their picks in the first three rounds of the draft. The Patriots used the 62nd overall pick on Garoppolo, making him the highest selection at quarterback for the Patriots in the Brady era.
Even at 36-going-on-37, Brady does not want the Brady era to end any time soon.
"There's nothing that can wake me up at 5 o'clock in the morning on a Thursday in May like getting ready for a day of football," he said. "I want to play a long time. There's nothing I like doing that's close to football. What'll I do when I’m done playing? I don't know, but I know it won't be nearly as fun. I can tell you neither me nor Peyton [Manning] will probably be very far from the game of football when we're done."
So, while he concedes it's not his role to choose players, that could be a role for him if he pursues a career as a coach or in a front office when his playing career is over.
The Patriots had more pressing needs than a backup quarterback, but Brady knows his career has an expiration date. Likewise, the Patriots know they must begin restocking the shelves in preparation for the possibility of that date arriving sooner than later.
That being said, Brady's doing everything he can to add some preservatives to his career and lengthen that shelf life.
"You know, you don’t have to suck when you get older," he said. "It's hard to explain this to people, but the commitment I make, in terms of keeping my body in shape and my nutrition right, should make me healthy. I feel better today than when I was 25, and I know that's hard for people to believe, but I do. I work at it. Basically, I work all offseason to prepare my body to not get hurt. I can't help the team if I'm on the sidelines. I've got to be durable."
In the event that an injury lands him on the sidelines, the Patriots have covered their bases by adding to the depth chart.
In the meantime, that appears to be the only way that another quarterback will see significant or meaningful playing time anytime soon.