The move leaves the AFC East leaders without a single backup QB on the roster while the 0-8 49ers nab a signal-caller that was impressive a year ago while filling in for a suspended Tom Brady.
The Patriots don't play again until a road Sunday night matchup on November 12 against the Denver Broncos.
When the game kicks off, here are three candidates that could be holding the clipboard behind Mr. Brady.
This probably makes the most logical sense. The 49ers cut Brian Hoyer to make room for Garoppolo so he's on the open market. Sure, his stats as the starter in San Francisco are beyond underwhelming, but he spent time with the Pats in 2009-2011 so he's definitely familiar with the offense.
If anything, the man is in game shape and could slide into the backup role with more knowledge of the playbook than any other QB on the open market right now.
Drafted by the Chicago Bears in the sixth round of the 2014 draft out of San Jose State, Fales worked out for the Patriots in early September after failing to make the Miami Dolphins' roster in the preseason.
A classic drop-back passer akin to Brady, Fales was recently signed again by the Dolphins for insurance after Jay Cutler went down. Should Fales become available again in the coming weeks, don't be surprised if the Patriots snag him.
It also doesn't hurt that the Pats reportedly showed interest in Fales during the 2014 draft before Chicago grabbed him, and he put up some decent numbers this preseason in Miami as well.
In the same way you simply can't have a "Next Coach at Team X" without mentioning Jon Gruden, the name Colin Kaepernick will continue to be brought up for QB vacancies around the NFL whether it's for a starting gig or backup role.
While Kaepernick's inaccuracy in the pocket isn't what the Patriots are accustomed to – he completed under 60% of his passes three out of his five seasons with the 49ers – he could give them mobility that Tom Brady certainly can't match.
Perhaps more importantly, if ever there was a coach in NFL history able to deflect and ignore the outside noise surrounding the polarizing Kaepernick, it's Bill Belichick.
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