The Patriots have a history of drafting a quarterback to play behind Tom Brady only to later trade him to a quarterback-needy team. This is what happens when Brady, now 39, shows no signs of slowing down.
Back in March 2009, New England sent Matt Cassel, who had started 15 games the season before and led helped the Pats to an 11-5 record, to Kansas City (along with linebacker Mike Vrabel) for a second-round pick. The Patriots parlayed the selection into safety Patrick Chung, who is still with the team. Meanwhile, Cassel never evolved into the franchise passer the Chiefs had hoped, and by 2013 he was playing in Minnesota. In the five seasons since, Cassel has played for three other clubs.
We mention all this because Brady's current backup is Jimmy Garoppolo, He started the first two games of the 2016 season, while Brady served his Deflategate suspension, and led the Pats to two wins. In those games, Garoppolo completed 42 of 59 attempts (71 percent) for 469 yards, four touchdowns and no interceptions. And with just one game remaining in the 2016 season after Sunday, the "Pats are willing to trade Garoppolo" rumors have ramped up.
"The Patriots are open to trading Jimmy Garoppolo and they are going to listen to all offers, as they have over the last couple years for Garoppolo -- and they have gotten a couple inquiries," Rapoport said. "But from what I am being told there are several complicating factors: First of all, the price tag, expected to be at least a first-round pick -- just based off the quarterback market. Will anyone give them that? Second of all, are the Patriots really comfortable going forward with [third-string QB]Jacoby Brissett as their backup quarterback in case Tom Brady gets hurt? That might be the biggest question of all."
This isn't the first time we've heard the Pats might put Garoppolo on the trade block. In December, former Browns executive Mike Lombardi -- who worked with Bill Belichick in Cleveland back in the mid-1990s and was an assistant in New England from 2014-2016 -- said this:
"The next quarterback that'll be the Cleveland Browns' quarterback perhaps is Jimmy Garoppolo in New England," Lombardi said during a television appearance at the time. "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 have two first-round picks -- the first overall and No. 12, thanks to the Eagles -- but it's hard to imagine that they'd be willing to part with either of them for Garoppolo, mostly because Cleveland has so many needs up and down the roster.
NFLDraftScout.com's Rob Rang and Dane Brugler, in their most recent mock drafts for CBSSports.com, both have the Browns taking Texas A&M defensive end Myles Garrett with that first selection and Florida cornerback Tez Tabor 11 picks later.