The New England Patriots don’t have a first or second round pick in the 2017 NFL Draft and there is a wide belief that the team will somehow acquire a selection in those rounds in the coming weeks. The Patriots have been linked to top picks by trading away CB Malcolm Butler or QB Jimmy Garoppolo, but there’s a very real chance that neither trade will happen.
And according to NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport, teams are pretty much giving up on acquiring Garoppolo.
“From my understanding, the Patriots do not want to deal Jimmy Garoppolo,” Rapoport added. “They really just don't, whether it's to the Browns, whether it's to the Texans. Their stance right now ... is they do not want to give up someone who they consider a franchise quarterback for a pick this year.”
The Cleveland Browns were the team most likely to acquire Garoppolo due to their billion draft picks in the first and second rounds of the 2017 and 2018 NFL Draft, but they appear to have no expectation of actually prying Garoppolo away from the Patriots.
Rapoport’s choice of phrasing is interesting, too, when he says the Patriots don’t want to give up “a franchise quarterback for a pick this year,” implying that the team probably wants to keep Garoppolo for 2017, but could actually be open for business in 2018, even if it means greatly reduced compensation.
The Patriots are apparently not yet convinced of the development of rising-sophomore QB Jacoby Brissett and don’t want to give up a franchise quarterback without a contingency plan for QB Tom Brady in place. Perhaps they’ll have more faith in Brissett by the end of this offseason and would be willing to trade Garoppolo in August, just like how they traded away Ryan Mallett in August of 2014 once they felt comfortable in Garoppolo’s development- and perhaps some team would be willing to pay a Sam Bradford-type panic premium if a starting quarterback is hurt in the preseason.
There will be a lot of posturing on the sides of the Patriots and the Browns as we approach the draft and both teams will be trying to generate the most leverage in a potential trade scenario, but perhaps both teams are simply just telling the truth at this point: the Patriots aren’t interested and the Browns have given up hope.