Bill Belichick texted Jimmy Garoppolo after each of his starts with the San Francisco 49ers

Jimmy Garoppolo talks with New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick on the sidelines. —Barry Chin/Globe Staff

They’re now over 3,000 miles apart, but Patriots coach Bill Belichick and his former backup quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo have established a new tradition.

According to Sports Illustrated‘s Jenny Vrentas, Belichick texted Garoppolo after each of his starts with the San Francisco 49ers to congratulate him for his performance. Garoppolo started — and won — five straight games for the 49ers to close out the season. He threw for 1,542 yards and six touchdowns.

Before he was traded to San Francisco in a surprising mid-season deal, Garoppolo was the backup quarterback for three seasons in New England. The Patriots received just a second-round draft pick in exchange for Garoppolo, which 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan’s dad, Michael, told Vrentas, “was almost too good to be true.” Shanahan and 49ers general manager Mike Lynch accepted Belichick’s offer within 10 minutes of fielding the phone call.


Vrentas reports the trade was likely the result of Belichick’s respect for both Shanahan and his father as well as his belief that Garoppolo would do well under Shanahan’s system. According to multiple reports, the Cleveland Browns offered the Patriots more for Garoppolo than the 49ers, but Belichick elected to pass.

Other nuggets from Vrentas’s story on Garoppolo:

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