FOXBORO -- In explaining the Patriots selection of Jimmy Garoppolo Friday night Bill Belichick said, “The situation we had at quarterback, I think that we felt as an organization that we needed to address that. We'll see how all that works out, but I think you’re better off being early than late at that position.”
Whoa, whoa, whoa . . . it’s a “situation” now? And what exactly is the situation?
Better off "being early" because Ryan Mallett has an expiring contract and has collected three seasons of dust backing up Brady? You don’t want to be looking around for a backup in 2015 with only Brady on the roster?
Or early because Brady is going to be 37 at the start of this season and is signed through 2017 when he’ll be 40?
Is Garoppolo a successor to Mallett or Brady, I asked Belichick?
“We know what Ryan's contract situation is,” Belichick acknowledged. “We know what Tom's age and contract situation is. I don't think you want to have one quarterback on your team.”
The drafting of Garoppolo is about grooming a starter, then. To hear it spoken is jarring. And it seems premature. Especially since Garoppolo is going to sign a four-year deal as a second-round pick. He could conceivably watch Brady for four seasons and never see the field.
Or the Patriots could give him every opportunity to take Brady’s job. On a night when the Patriots could have taken a wide receiver like Cody Latimer or a tight end like C.J. Fiedorowicz to help the offense now, the Patriots instead took Garoppolo to, theoretically, run the offense someday.
The Brady endgame is underway.