The annual NFL Owners Meeting is set to take place from March 26-29 in Phoenix, Arizona, and it is the location where the Cleveland Browns are expected to make yet another push to acquire QB Jimmy Garoppolo from the New England Patriots, per ESPN’s Tony Grossi.
“An NFL source familiar with all the principals involved speculated the Browns ‘would make another run’ at Garoppolo at the league meetings,” according to Grossi. “There, Patriots owner Robert Kraft and coach Bill Belichick could interact in person -- rather than via telephone -- with Browns owner Jimmy Haslam and chief deal-maker Sashi Brown, the club’s executive vice president of football operations.
“The seeds of trades often are sown in the fertile grounds of the league meetings. If a trade is still viable -- even the optimists believe it is a long shot -- the source said it’s possible it may not be consummated until closer to the April 27 draft.”
The Browns have been acquired the draft capital necessary to meet the Patriots trade demands, which have apparently escalated to a pair of first round picks. After the acquisition of a second round pick and QB Brock Osweiler from the Houston Texans, which was universally regarded as a move to set up a subsequent trade, the Browns have eight total picks in the first two rounds of the 2017 and 2018 NFL Drafts. They are extremely capable of issuing a Godfather offer for Garoppolo that the Patriots can’t refuse.
While other quarterback-hungry teams like the San Francisco 49ers and Chicago Bears have moved on from the idea of acquiring Garoppolo and have signed veteran options, the Browns have Osweiler- whom they are expected to release- and a ton of cap space. They remain an ideal landing spot for Garoppolo.
As Grossi notes, a trade between the Patriots and Browns is not an inevitability; the Patriots aren’t interested in trading away what they believe to be a great starting quarterback, while the Browns likely have a cap on what they’d be willing to trade away. There is still a lot of time for a trade to develop between now and the NFL Draft. Stay tuned.