Bill Belichick shocked the NFL world last season when he abruptly traded Jimmy Garoppolo to the San Francisco 49ers. Garoppolo was groomed to be Tom Brady's heir to the throne and the little game action that Jimmy G saw gave reason to be excited for the post-Brady future in New England.

That excitement turned to confused anger when Garoppolo was sent to San Francisco and immediately excelled, prompting the team to give him the highest paid contract in NFL history. There are many reasons why New England couldn't keep Garoppolo. Between Brady's refusal to show his age, and the fact that they couldn't re-sign Jimmy to be a backup any longer, you can pick a reason why the trade had to happen.

The question now is: Who will be Tom Brady's replacement when he does decide to finally retire?

Brian Hoyer

Currently, Brian Hoyer is serving as Brady's backup. Hoyer was signed after the Garoppolo trade to provide security in the event that Brady is injured. Hoyer has played in New England before and knows the system. He has also shown over his career that he is a viable fill in quarterback that can be counted on to keep the ship moving in the right direction. However, given Hoyer's age and designation as a backup player at best, he is not the long term solution in New England. He is simply holding the clipboard until Belichick can find the next Jimmy G to mold and groom.

Johnny Manziel

There is a lot of hype this week around the league as former Heisman winner Johnny Manziel has been taking part in multiple pro days.

Getting himself in front of scouts as much as possible has done great things for his comeback attempt as the early reports have been all positive. The Patriots had scouts at both of Manziel's recent workouts and were seen talking with the controversial player afterward for an extended period of time. Whether there is legitimate interest in Manziel, or if the team is just kicking the tires to see where his head is at remains to be seen.

Backing up for Brady over the next several seasons could be just what Manziel needs to learn to be a professional quarterback in the league.

The draft

With the current crop of free agent quarterbacks leaving a lot to be desired, the Patriots might look to the draft to fill their quarterback of the future needs. The big names will all be long gone before the Patriots make their first-round pick, and it would be highly unlikely that they would use that pick on a quarterback anyway.

The later rounds might be where they intend to strike if drafting a quarterback is the plan. Guys like Luke Falk, out of Washington State, and Ryan Finley of North Carolina State could be a solid fit to bring in. Both guys are projected to be NFL starters and the key again could be learning behind the greatest quarterback of all-time.

The position behind Brady is wide open right now. Hoyer is holding the spot in the interim, but expect New England to be aggressive in trying to find a long term solution as Brady continues to play into his 40's.