Robert Kraft Denies Report He Order Jimmy Garoppolo Trade, Won’t Trade Bill Belichick

Patriots owner Robert Kraft tells Peter King of that he “absolutely” believes Bill Belichick will be the coach of the team in 2018.

Beyond that, Kraft disputed the part of the ESPN story that he ordered Belichick to trade QB Jimmy Garoppolo. According to Kraft, he did meet at length with Belichick in the weeks leading up to the trade deadline.

“Until Monday at the trade deadline—I believe that was Oct. 30—the last time I talked to Bill about Jimmy’s situation was in a group with Bill, [club president] Jonathan [Kraft], [director of player personnel] Nick Caserio … a small group of us, I think in June. That is the last time I talked to Bill about it. I would see Nick occasionally and say, ‘Anything going on?” Kraft said.

I assumed once the season started, we’d talk again at the end of the season about it. The next time I spoke with Bill about it was the Monday before the trade deadline. He called me on that Monday and said he got a deal with San Francisco, Jimmy for a second-round pick and [quarterback] Brian Hoyer. Turns out they had to cut Hoyer and then we got him. But really, this was basically a second-round pick and Brian Hoyer for Jimmy. Bill asked me if I was OK with this. I was really taken aback a little bit. I wanted to think about it. I talked to Jonathan, who was okay with it, and I called Bill back and said, ‘OK.’”

The ESPN story has led to a great deal of speculation about Belichick’s future with the Patriots. However, Kraft says he won’t trade Belichick.

When you’re lucky enough to have someone exceptional, you let them do their job and you get out of the way,” Kraft tells King.

Kraft explained that keeping both Garoppolo and Tom Brady would have been very difficult moving forward, given that they would have had to franchise Garoppolo and pay two quarterbacks high salaries.

We’ll have more regarding the Patriots as the news is available.

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