For seemingly the one hundred thousandth time, the Cleveland Browns gave Bill Belichick and the Patriots a ring in regards to Jimmy Garoppolo, this time during the first round of the draft Thursday night. Cleveland has made their extreme interest in the coming on-third year backup quarterback almost overly obvious this offseason, even dating back to the end of this past season. Garoppolo has one year remaining on his rookie contract, therefore he will become an unrestricted free agent in 2018. Instead of allowing Garoppolo to roam the free agent market, New England could always franchise tag him and then trade him and give themselves yet another advantage.
Nobody knows exactly what the Patriots want from the Browns for Jimmy G, but we can presume that they want a lot. Adam Schefter reported that when Cleveland called the Patriots up, New England “was not interested”, which I think is false. I doubt that Belichick hung up on them; the offer simply wasn’t good enough. Again. For the one millionth time. That being said, I think a trade could still happen. If there really wasn’t any possible way the Patriots would let go of Garoppolo, no matter the offer, they would have told Cleveland by now, no? There are two things that could happen: Cleveland could let Belichick work his fleecing magic on them like he’s done countless times, or they could simply give it up and wait until 2018 to find their quarterback. Both are totally logical.
If New England is going to trade Garoppolo, they’re going to have to get it done tonight, and in the second round. If nothing goes down by then, Garoppolo will stay a Patriot for at least another year and we can start this entire process all over again next winter. What will happen, I don’t know. I believe that it’s unlikely a deal gets done, but I’m smart enough to know to never count anything out when it comes to Bill Belichick and the Patriots.
Quarterbacks have already been incredibly highly valued if you look at what happened in the first round this year. Chicago moved up from third overall to second overall in a trade with San Francisco to draft Mitchell Trubisky (which is stupid, by the way). Kansas City struck a deal with Buffalo to trade up to tenth overall and draft Patrick Mahomes. Cleveland and Houston also made a trade, giving Houston the 12th pick to draft DeShaun Watson. Both KC and Houston gave up both 2017 and 2018 first-rounders among others, while Chicago moved up and surrendered a total of four picks in this year’s and the next draft. Also in the middle of the draft, Cleveland reportedly inquired about both Kirk Cousins and AJ McCarron. At the times in which any of these moves were made, Cleveland chose to call up New England. Whether it was when Chicago or Kansas City traded up or anything in between, talks heated up at that time.
If the Browns hadn’t traded their 12th pick to Houston, I think that they would have figured out a deal with the Patriots for Garoppolo. They could have easily packaged that twelfth pick and others to New England at that time. The amount of ammunition they have on hand is mind-boggling. In this draft alone, the Browns own the 52nd, 65th, 145th, 175th, 181st, 185th and 188th picks. They also have Houston’s 2018 first-rounder, which will most likely be a late first-rounder, and both Philadelphia and Houston’s 2018 second-rounders. Not to mention, Cleveland drafted DE Myles Garrett, LB Jabrill Peppers and TE David Kjoku. That’s simply insane. In the end, it all depends on what they’re willing to hand over to New England, and also what the Patriots want in return. If they can’t get on the same page, then it won’t go down. Simple as that.
Just to add to another ingredient into this already crazy mix, Cleveland will reportedly try to trade for Garoppolo again tonight. This is essentially their last ditch effort to acquire him. Like I said before, if a deal cannot be struck before the second round ends, this saga is over until next year. The Browns have the pieces to get it done, but if they’re not willing to give up what Belichick wants, it won’t happen. The Patriots don’t settle. While Garoppolo only has two NFL starts under his belt, those 2.5 games were extremely promising, plus he’s developed under the Patriots, under Bill Belichick all while watching and getting help from Tom Brady. The interest in him is rightfully large.
Schefter has been adamant on saying from the very second this entire situation began way back when that Garoppolo will not be traded. As much as I despise ESPN, I’m with him on that and similar to him, will be until this is all over with and have been from the start. My gut feeling is that the Patriots will continue to dodge what in their eyes are crappy offers from the Browns. New England values Garoppolo highly, similar to how highly valued quarterbacks are in this year’s draft. If a trade does somehow go down, the Patriots will become that much better. New England sees Garoppolo as Tom Brady’s heir, when the time comes, and they expect to get exactly what he’s worth right back. If the deal isn’t right, it’s not right. This is a unique situation and I’ve loved watching every second of it unfold. You’d think that this would be a no-brainer considering what the Browns have to offer, but this is the Patriots, after all.