The trio of New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft, head coach Bill Belichick, and quarterback Tom Brady have done amazing things together. They have won five Super Bowls over a span of 15 years. They have rebranded what was an almost forgettable NFL franchise into one of the league's all-time greats.

Could all of that be coming to an end? According to a report by Seth Wickersham of ESPN, this might be the final run for the dominant trio. It was a story topic that was revealed on Thursday night when Bruce Allen of Boston Sports Media Watch provided details of the report via Twitter.

Why is this news here? Because, according to the report, the rift between the three was the catalyst for the trade of quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo to the San Francisco 49ers. More on that in a moment.

"But according to interviews with more than a dozen New England staffers, executives, players and league sources with knowledge of the team's inner-workings, the three most powerful people in the franchise -- Belichick, Brady, and owner Robert Kraft -- have had serious disagreements," wrote Wickersham.

The ESPN feature hints that the drafting of Garoppolo may have been the first sign that Belichick was planning for life after his future Hall of Fame quarterback retired -- or was no longer able to play at a level expected by the head coach. It was also the same year that Brady's trainer, body coach, and business partner, Alex Guerrero, may have started overstepping his boundaries in the eyes of Belichick.

In 2016, the Patriots and Brady agreed to a two-year deal that would offer New England and easy out in 2018 when they could transition to Garoppolo if they felt the time was right. The Patriots went on to win the Super Bowl. Brady's legacy and power within the organization only got stronger.

The story goes on to explain how the rift between Guerrero and Belichick continued to split the organization right down to Brady's teammates themselves. There were questions regarding who players would benefit training with the most -- the team or Guerrero?

Then there is Brady becoming frustrated with some aspects of Belichick's methods, according to the report. Garoppolo, who started two games for the Patriots in 2016, received little guidance from Brady, who saw no need to help with matters as trivial as footwork because no one helped him during his climb to the top.

Following an injury that took place during Garoppolo's second career start, the young quarterback decided to visit the Guerrero-run TB12 Sports Therapy Center to give their trainers a try. After all, it was good enough for Brady. According to members of the Patriots staff, when Garoppolo arrived, the door was locked, no one was there, and the trainers did not answer his calls. Garoppolo ended up visiting the team's trainers.

Belichick, who earlier passed on better deals than the one he got from the 49ers on October 30th, didn't want to trade Garoppolo, according to ESPN. To Belichick, the young quarterback was Brady's heir apparent. The issue was that Garoppolo was about to become a free agent after the 2017 season.

"The Patriots repeatedly offered Garoppolo four-year contract extensions, in the $17-18 million range annually that would go higher if and when he succeeded Brady," wrote Wickersham.

Those offers were rejected by Garoppolo and his agent, Don Yee, who also happens to represent Brady.

A meeting in October between Belichick and Kraft to discuss the quarterback situation ended with a mandate to the head coach: Trade Garoppolo and find another potential replacement for Brady in the draft.

A furious Belichick proceeded to follow the commands of his boss and, in the end, gave up his prized quarterback, the man who was to continue his legacy, for a second-round draft pick.

Belichick texted 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan and asked him to call. On October 30th, the deal was done. Garoppolo was the new franchise quarterback for the 49ers.

"Things broke our way,'' 49ers general manager John Lynch told the Talk of Fame Network on Thursday regarding the trade.

Belichick held a great deal of respect for Lynch, Shanahan, and his father Mike.

"At the combine this past February, Kyle, weeks into the 49ers job after being the offensive coordinator for the Falcons, met with Belichick for hours to learn from his team's humiliating Super Bowl loss," Wickersham revealed. "Belichick believed that Garoppolo would excel under Shanahan, and when he and Shanahan connected on the phone, Belichick offered the quarterback for a second-rounder."

By Week 13, Garoppolo was the 49ers' starting quarterback. He completed 120 of his 178 pass attempts for 1,560 yards, seven touchdowns, five interceptions, and a passer rating of 96.2 during his five starts, which were all victories, and six game appearances with the 49ers this past season.

Related News