According to ESPN, the New England Patriots have traded backup quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo to the San Francisco 49ers. In exchange, the Patriots get a second-round pick in 2018. Currently, New England has no quarterback on the roster besides Tom Brady. While the team may sign Brian Hoyer, who was just cut from San Francisco, the Patriots are placing too much stock in Tom Brady. They seem to expect him to stay healthy, and they are confident in him playing for a few years. What does the Garoppolo trade mean to the rest of the Afc East?

Brady just one hit away from getting hurt

With no backup quarterback on the roster, Tom Brady is just one hit away from getting knocked out of a game or the entire season. He has been hit more than usual this year, and already had his non-throwing arm injured. Garoppolo is a seasoned backup quarterback who could have walked right in when Brady retired. That ship has now passed. New England is taking a big chance believing Brady will play the rest of the year. If he cannot play due to injury, the Patriots would have to lean on their defense, which has performed badly this year. This would open the door for the Buffalo Bills to take over first place in the AFC East.

Injuries have been a thorn in New England’s side this year.

They lost Julian Edelman and Donte Hightower for the year. Chris Hogan will be out a few weeks with shoulder surgery. That puts most of the pressure on Brady to get it done. Mike Gillislee and James White need to bring their rushing attack A-game to the field.

Was Belichick feeling the heat of the Bills?

For the first time in about seven years, New England finally has some solid competition in the AFC East.

The Buffalo Bills are breathing down their necks with a 5-2 record. Buffalo’s defense is engaging in some turnover magic this season. The Bills’ defense has 20 turnovers this year, as stated by Fox Sports. Safety Micah Hyde leads the team with five interceptions. It has been tough to score passing and rushing touchdowns against Buffalo’s secondary.

Opposing teams have only scored 11 touchdowns against the Bills. Cornerback Tre’Davious White has already been named as defensive rookie of the month. The Bills and Patriots will play each other twice in December.

Perhaps, Bill Belichick was feeling some heat from Buffalo. The competition to get to number one in the AFC East will not be so easy for him this season. Giving Garoppolo a huge contract next year when Brady is the plan for a few more years was not the way the Patriots wanted to go. Perhaps, the second-round pick is being saved for a quarterback down the line. Buffalo is winning without a bunch of top-notch talent and seems to be beating New England at their own game right now.

The Miami Dolphins are 4-3 and need to bounce back from their disastrous 40-0 blowout at the hands of the Baltimore Ravens this past Thursday.

They play the Patriots in November and December. Therefore, they can even up the score with New England. However, the Dolphins just traded Jay Ajayi this morning to the Philadelphia Eagles. That makes their offense even worse with backup quarterback Matt Moore trying to get the scoring back on track.

The New York Jets are 3-5. They play Buffalo this Thursday and must walk away with a win to stay on track in the AFC East. The Jets almost beat the Patriots when they met two weeks ago. New York scored a touchdown at the end of the game but unfortunately, a controversial penalty canceled out the score.

Right now, New England is putting all of their faith in Tom Brady. However, the Bills, Jets, and Dolphins are all knocking at the door to get to that top spot in the AFC East. The Garoppolo trade may make it a bit easier.