Why 49ers’ Kyle Shanahan enjoyed trading with Patriots for Jimmy Garoppolo

Though Sunday’s Patriots-49ers clash will be their first meeting as head coaches, Bill Belichick and Kyle Shanahan have formed a mutual respect for each other over the years.

Some of the admiration comes from their exploits on the football field, while it’s also been built through trade dealings and other conversations.

With respect to the former, Belichick’s Patriots pulled off the greatest comeback in Super Bowl history in 2017 over the Falcons, where Shanahan was the offensive coordinator. That game has had an impact on both, but especially Shanahan, who was struck by Belichick reaching out to him after the game to talk.

The following season, Shanahan’s first in San Francisco as a head coach, the relationship grew, as the two did some important business together.

That’s when the two teams executed the much-debated trade on Halloween that sent Jimmy Garoppolo to San Francisco for a second-round pick. Belichick and Shanahan worked together to make it happen.

The relationship the two coaches had forged over the years helped get the deal done, as it’s generally understood that Belichick wanted to put Garoppolo, who he held a special place for after drafting him in 2014, in a good situation. Shanahan, an offensive mastermind, and his 49ers checked those boxes.

“I know Bill was a big fan and I enjoyed talking to him about it,” Shanahan said Wednesday when reflecting on the Garoppolo trade. “Helped me out with stuff, stuff that probably will stay between Bill and I, but he was a great guy to deal with. It’s always hard to get trades done, but when you deal with someone who is just about football and pretty simple in everything else, it’s easy to get stuff done and that’s why it’s really fun dealing with someone like Bill when you’re trying to make two teams better.”

The 49ers certainly got better with Garoppolo, who led them to a 5-0 record as a starter to end the 2017 season, which helped land the quarterback a huge payday as he signed a five-year, $137.5 million contract. Though he tore his ACL in the third game of the 2018 season, he bounced back healthy last season as the Niners went 13-3 and made the Super Bowl.

Almost exactly three years since the trade, Shanahan said he’s learned a lot about his quarterback.

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