Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports



New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft, head coach Bill Belichick, and quarterback Tom Brady issued a joint statement on Friday saying the revealing ESPN report released the night before detailing a potential rift between the trio contains "speculated theories that are unsubstantiated, highly exaggerated or flat-out inaccurate."

Seth Wickersham shared some of the details about the trade of Patriots backup quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo to the San Francisco 49ers within the report. He stating that a meeting in October between Belichick and Kraft to discuss the quarterback situation in New England ended with a mandate to the head coach: Trade Garoppolo and find another potential replacement for Brady in the draft.

Kraft recently called Wickersham's details of the decision to trade Garoppolo to San Francisco "a total fabrication and fiction" while speaking to Peter King of The MMQB. The Patriots owner stated it was Belichick who initiated discussions of trading Garoppolo in October.

Wickersham reported that Kraft and Belichick met for half a day in October before the owner issued the mandate to the head coach. Kraft called the report "a total fabrication and fiction."

"I am telling you, it's fiction," he told King.

According to Kraft, Belichick called him before the NFL trade deadline to share that he had reached an agreement with the 49ers to trade Garoppolo for a second-round draft pick in 2018.

"Bill asked me if I was OK with this," Kraft told King. "I was really taken aback a little bit. I wanted to think about it. I talked to Jonathan [Kraft], who was okay with it, and I called Bill back and said, 'OK.'"

Kraft also stated that he and Belichick had no conversations about the possibility of trading Garoppolo since June. Although, he did discuss the reasoning for the trade, telling King it would have been difficult to keep both Brady and Garoppolo going forward.

Garoppolo likely would not have remained in New England without the use of the franchise tag, which didn't make much sense financially for the Patriots. They could not afford to pay two quarterbacks top dollar and continue to contend for championships.

Meanwhile, Wickersham stands by his report of the situation within the Patriots organization. "I absolutely stand by my story," he said on Saturday.

The bottom line is while we may never know what the actual motives of the trade were, the 49ers are benefiting from the deal and finally have a franchise quarterback in place for the future.