Here's why the Patriots trading Jimmy Garoppolo to the Browns may be inevitable

The on-again, off-again Jimmy Garoppolo-to-the-Browns saga is, apparently, (maybe) on again. ESPN’s John Clayton stated in a radio interview that Garoppolo could be headed to the Cleveland Browns soon. 

Speaking extemporaneously about Cleveland’s quarterback situation, Clayton mentioned that it may even be worse than it was last year, with the Browns merely having replaced Robert Griffin III on the roster with Brock Osweiler . “I think in the end, they have to come to some kind of Jimmy Garoppolo trade,” Clayton said.

As for the New England Patriots , Clayton focused on their lack of early-round draft picks. “With the Patriots not having picks in rounds one and two, there’s got to be some kind of a trade coming up with Jimmy Garoppolo,” he said.

The Pats traded their first-round pick last week in a deal for former New Orleans Saints wideout Brandin Cooks . They also dropped down from the final pick in the second round to the eighth pick of the third in a trade that saw them acquire former Carolina Panthers defensive end Kony Ealy . That pick, No. 72, is currently the first time the Pats are slated to make a selection in the 2017 draft. 

They’ve made a couple high-profile acquisitions in Cooks and former Bills corner Stephon Gilmore , and re-signed Dont’a Hightower on Wednesday, but they’ve also lost several players in free agency ( Logan Ryan , Jabaal Sheard , Martellus Bennett ), could lose several more (including  Chris Long ), and now have limited draft resources to acquire adequate replacements. 

“He doesn’t have picks in one and two. If they don’t get Dont’a Hightower re-signed, then they’re down four players on defense in a very good defensive draft and so they need some volume,” Clayton said. “That’s why I can’t imagine them sitting there with a quarterback that’s not gonna play next year because he’s got Tom Brady on the team -- waiting to get a third-round compensatory pick in 2018, when he can get a good group of draft choices now.”

The Pats could acquire a draft pick for Malcolm Butler if the cornerback comes to an agreement with the Saints after a visit to New Orleans on Thursday (his restricted free agent tender would return a first-rounder as compensation), but moving Garoppolo would likely help them nab even more early picks. 

What kind of picks? Well, who knows, really? The Pats either are or are not willing to move Garoppolo, and they either want a first, two firsts, or the No. 1 overall pick in exchange for his services. Rumors are all over the place. This is just another one to add to the pile, which is likely to grow more and more as we move closer to draft day. 

CBS Sports Writer

Jared Dubin is a New York lawyer and writer. He joined CBSSports.com in 2014 and has since spent far too much of his time watching film and working in spreadsheets. Full Bio

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