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Mike Silver presents worst-case trade scenario for the Patriots and QB Jimmy Garoppolo

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Here’s how the Patriots wind up keeping Garoppolo for 2017.

There are really just three possible trade candidates for New England Patriots QB Jimmy Garoppolo, but if NFL Network’s Mike Silver is correct, there is just one possible landing spot.

The Cleveland Browns, the San Francisco 49ers, and the Chicago Bears are the leading suitors for Garoppolo, with teams like the New York Jets and Houston Texans eye-rolling non-options. Of those three teams, Silver has a scenario that cancels out two of the franchises.

Silver believes that Tampa Bay Buccaneers back-up QB Mike Glennon will end up as the Bears starting quarterback. Glennon won’t receive Brock Osweiler levels of silly money, but he’ll get a pretty sizable deal, projected in the $14-15 million range.

Now in this scenario, the Bears can invest a second round pick in a quarterback, too, and have an open competition, because $14-15 million is not guaranteed starting money for a quarterback. It just represents a journeyman salary, similar to that received by Ryan Fitzpatrick.

And if Garoppolo doesn’t return to his hometown Bears, there are just two teams left- and Silver is linking the 49ers to a veteran quarterback in free agency.

“When it comes to the quarterback position, I believe that Kirk Cousins wants to be in San Francisco,” Silver says. “I believe that Kyle Shanahan who has been very, very high on Kirk Cousins since he was the offensive coordinator in Washington when they drafted Cousins, I believe that marriage wants to happen on both ends.”

“But if I had to make a guess one way or another at this early stage,” Silver adds, “I would say it’s more likely than not that Kirk Cousins ends up being the 49ers quarterback.”

Now Silver is just reading the tea leaves and making a projection- this is not a report- but this aligns with some of the rumors floating around the league and represents a scenario where the Patriots have lost their negotiating leverage with the remaining team (Cleveland).

Maybe the Browns are willing to give up the 12th overall selection for Garoppolo, but no more. Maybe there’s a trade on the table. If Silver’s scenario plays out, then New England will have to “settle” for the 12th overall pick.

Or, alternatively and more likely, Garoppolo would remain a member of the Patriots- and that’s not a bad place to be.