Following Thursday’s unprecedented swap for Brock Osweiler, his salary and a 2018 second-round pick, the Browns are loaded heading into this year’s draft.
Armed with three first-rounders and five second-rounders over the next two years, Cleveland owns the requisite ammunition to make a play for New England backup quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo.
According to NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport, the Browns plan to do just that.
“They do intend to make a run at Jimmy Garoppolo as we get closer to the draft. Will they actually be able to do it is the question,” Rapoport told NFL Network. “I’ve talked to several teams that were in the quarterback mix. All, obviously, were considering or are considering going after Jimmy Garoppolo. To a T, every team has said, ‘We believe the Browns are going to make a huge run and we don’t think we can compete with that.’ So it certainly seems like the Browns are up front in a potential Garoppolo derby.”
Rapoport, though, reiterated what he reported earlier this week, saying that New England’s front office isn’t pushing to part ways with Tom Brady’s reliable understudy.
“The Patriots are not exactly comfortable, at this point, with Jacoby Brissett as Tom Brady’s backup,” Rapoport said. “… At this point, from what I understand, it does not seem like the Patriots want to trade Jimmy Garoppolo. Everyone has a price, but they don’t want to do it.”
That might be the case today, but the Browns, to an unprecedented degree, are flooded with draft selections:
The #Browns draft picks after the Osweiler trade:
2017: 1, 1, 2, 2, 3, 4, 5, 5, 5, 6, 6
2018: 1, 2, 2, 2, 3, 4, 4, 5, 6, 6, 7
— NFL GameDay (@NFLGameDay) 9 mars 2017
NFL Network’s Mike Garafolo reported earlier this month, per a source “somewhat connected to the situation,” that it would require a 2017 first-rounder and possibly another first-rounder in 2018 to woo Patriots coach Bill Belichick.
Still, from New England’s point of view, there’s no reason to ship away Garoppolo when Belichick views him as a “really seamless” option behind Brady — and one costing the Patriots less than $1 million in 2017.
Cleveland, though, has the goods to make an offer that no team in the league can match. This year’s first-overall pick is rich — likely too rich for Browns executive VP of football operations Sashi Brown — but parting with a bushel of selections is something Cleveland can do.
It almost doesn’t seem fair, but New England sits in a beautiful position entering draft season. The Patriots can sit back and see what the Browns have to offer.
This all has the makings of a deal that could change the fortunes of both clubs for years to come — but it won’t come cheap for the quarterback-needy Browns.