The New England Patriots sent back-up quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo to the San Francisco 49ers for a second round pick that was negatively affected every time Garoppolo exceeded expectations and led his new team to victory. Instead of one of the first couple picks in the second round, it plunged into the early 40s.
It turns out the Patriots could have received more from the Cleveland Browns. A lot more.
According to Cleveland.com’s Terry Pluto, then-Browns vice president Sashi Brown “was willing to part with Houston’s first-round pick and other goodies.” The Texans sent their first round pick to the Browns this past draft and they wound up finishing with the 4th overall pick.
So the Patriots could have received that 4th overall pick “and other goodies,” which is certainly a much better deal than what they received from the 49ers.
Multiple people have written about how the Patriots only spoke with the 49ers and didn’t shop Garoppolo around at all. Pluto notes that the Browns spoke with New England about possibly acquiring Garoppolo two days before he was moved to San Francisco, leaving the Cleveland “front office...especially baffled because they had made two [previous] trades with New England.”
The Patriots wanted to send Garoppolo to a stable franchise, unlike the Browns, because they didn’t want him to leave to more impactful team in free agency, like the Denver Broncos or a team in the AFC East. The 49ers were far more likely to retain Garoppolo for the long term and wouldn’t have an effect on the AFC playoff picture.
So it’s a give and take. The Patriots almost certainly could have received more than just a second round pick if they were willing to shop Garoppolo around. They weren’t interested and were content to get a second round pick. I’m still shocked they couldn’t get a conditional future pick thrown in by the 49ers. But it is what it is.
And it’s clear that the Patriots wanted nothing to do with Garoppolo in the AFC.