Trading Jimmy Garoppolo is a risky move by the New England Patriots, who now have only one quarterback — Tom Brady — on their roster ahead of their Week 9 bye.

Is it all part of Bill Belichick’s exit strategy?

FS1’s Colin Cowherd posed an interesting theory Tuesday while discussing the Patriots’ decision to ship Garoppolo — long considered the heir apparent to Brady in New England — to the San Francisco 49ers for a 2018 second-round draft pick. Basically, Cowherd believes there are just two or three seasons remaining in the Brady/Belichick era and that the Patriots head coach, who sent a strong message with Monday’s trade, is helping out his friends across the league before calling it a career.

“Let’s look at what Belichick has done,” Cowherd said. “He traded quarterback Jacoby Brissett (to the Indianapolis Colts) for a wide receiver (Phillip Dorsett) who was considered sort of a bust. Could he get more? Yeah. But the Colts GM is Chris Ballard, a friend of (Kansas City Chiefs head coach) Andy Reid, who Belichick likes. They make the deal.