Ex-Browns and Patriots executive predicts Pats will trade Garoppolo to Browns
Mike Lombardi worked for both the Browns and Patriots and thinks they'll connect on an offseason trade
The New England Patriots have one of the best quarterback situations in the NFL. They have Tom Brady, one of the best to ever do it, as their starter. And they have Jimmy Garoppolo, who earlier this season showed he might be ready for a starting role himself, as Brady's backup.
Brady is pushing 40 but he's also showing no signs of slowing down. During the eight games he's been on the field, he's likely been the best quarterback in the league. Considering Garoppolo's contract is up after next year, the Pats have themselves a decision to make about the young backup's future with the team. Do they simply let the contract play out and try to sign him as Brady's backup and eventual successor, risking that he signs elsewhere as a starter, or do they try to grab some value for him in a trade?
Ex-Patriots executive Mike Lombardi, who also is the former general manager of the Cleveland Browns and now works as an analyst for FOX, has a prediction: his two former employers will complete a trade.
"The next quarterback that'll be the Cleveland Browns' quarterback perhaps is Jimmy Garoppolo in New England," Lombardi said during a television appearance this week, per the Akron Beacon-Journal. "I think Cleveland understands, Hue Jackson specifically understands he needs a quarterback. I think they'll be very aggressive. I think Jimmy Garoppolo's on top of their list, and I think they'll go hard after him."
"I think the Patriots will decide whether [to trade Garoppolo] based on the deal they're offered and Cleveland has enough assets to entice them."
The Browns declined to take a quarterback at the No. 2 spot in the 2016 draft, instead electing to trade down twice and pick up extra picks in future drafts. Again they are on track for an early pick (probably No. 1 overall) and have the Eagles' first-rounder as well, plus several extra picks in later rounds. They have a lot of ammo with which to make a deal, if they so choose.
"[The Browns are] going to have to use those draft picks on a player, and if you can get a starting quarterback who can play in cold weather, who can do a lot of things that Hue Jackson likes to do, I mean do you want to give up all your assets or do you want to go after AJ McCarron who was backup in Cincinnati?" Lombardi said. "I think you're better off going after Garoppolo and get the better player."
Garoppolo played in two games this season before getting injured, completing 42 of 60 passes for 494 yards, four touchdowns and no interceptions. He certainly looked the part, leading the Patriots to fairly easy scoring drives against the Cardinals and Dolphins before going down.
Considering he is a 25-year old quarterback with a total track record of 91 professional passes, it's difficult to discern what a potential trade market might look like. Teams might be especially wary of paying big for passers with limited track records this offseason given what has happened with Brock Osweiler in Houston and what has happened with Tom Brady's previous backups (like Matt Cassel) who have been given a shot elsewhere.
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