One of the biggest questions of the 2017 offseason was whether or not the Patriots would end up trading Jimmy Garoppolo. After a trade didn't go down during the offseason, it started to seem like maybe the Patriots had decided to hold on to their backup quarterback so that he could take over the starting job whenever Tom Brady ended up retiring. That all changed in October though, when the Patriots pulled off one of the most shocking trades of the Belichick era: They sent Garoppolo to the 49ers in exchange for a second-round pick. As it turns out, it seems that Belichick held on to Garoppolo as long as possible because he was a huge fan of his backup quarterback. According to 49ers general manager John Lynch, Belichick could already tell that Garoppolo was going to be a great player. "Bill, beyond thinking this kid was a special football player, thought he was a special person," Lynch said recently, via "And he just said, 'You're gonna love the player, guys respond to him.' I didn't know what that meant. You think you know, but (we saw) that right away, even when he wasn't playing." Garoppolo showed how special he was right away, going 5-0 in his first five starts for a team that went 1-10 before he was given the quarterback job. "[Jimmy] just had command, he became a leader instantly," Lynch said. "And you kept hearing that from people at New England -- the guys love him. You don't really know what that means until you see it, and right away we saw it." The fact that the Patriots were unwilling to trade Garoppolo during the offseason is one of the things that sold Lynch on the trade. "You respect so much the way the Patriots do things, the fact they weren't willing to let him go said something," Lynch said. "And ultimately, I won't speak for them, but I think it had run its course there. I just felt really good about it and that's why we were so quick to pull the trigger when it presented itself." Lynch is right, the Garoppolo situation did run its course in New England. Even if the Patriots wanted to keep him, it wasn't going to be financially possible. Belichick basically admitted as much shortly after the trade.