- The New England Patriots reportedly outright rejected offers for Jimmy Garoppolo from the Cleveland Browns.
- The Browns’ offer reportedly included the Houston Texans’ 2018 first-round pick, which is now the fourth pick in the draft.
- The Patriots only got the San Francisco 49ers’ second-round pick for Garoppolo, which may lend credence to the theory that Belichick sought to get a better deal for Garoppolo than for the Patriots.
Bill Belichick’s alleged hand-picked destination for Jimmy Garoppolo may have hurt the New England Patriots in the long run.
In October, the Patriots traded Garoppolo to the San Francisco 49ers for a 2018 second-round draft pick. ESPN’s Seth Wickersham reported last week that after Belichick was ordered to trade Garoppolo, he chose the 49ers out of respect for the Shanahan family and with the belief that Garoppolo could flourish there.
ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported in December that there is a belief that Belichick would not trade Garoppolo to the Browns out of fear that they would stall his development.
On Monday, Cleveland.com’s Jerry Pluto reported that the Browns were rejected outright by the Patriots when they called about Garoppolo, but it may have hurt the Patriots just as much. According to Pluto, the Browns were willing to trade the Houston Texans’ 2018 first-round pick (sent to the Browns in a trade-deadline deal last year), plus spare parts, to make the deal happen.
According to Pluto, the Browns had asked about Garoppolo and were rejected just two days before Garoppolo was dealt to the 49ers.
Now that deal doesn’t look so good for the Patriots. The Texans finished the season 4-12 and got the fourth pick in the draft which will go to the Browns after Cleveland traded the 12th overall pick in last season’s draft to the Texans. That deal could still be a winner for the Browns, despite having missed out on Deshaun Watson, because they now have the first and fourth picks in the draft.
For the Patriots, however, it looks like a missed opportunity. The 2018 second-round pick they got from the 49ers only declined in value because Garoppolo helped the 49ers go 5-0 over the final five games of the season, moving that pick from the 34th in the draft to the 39th pick.
That the Patriots turned down a first-round pick may lend credence to the idea that Belichick made a better deal for Garoppolo than for the Patriots. Belichick reportedly viewed Garoppolo as a future franchise quarterback and was “demoralized” after being told to trade him. As mentioned, Wickersham reported that Belichick hand-picked the 49ers, believing it would be a good destination for Garoppolo.
But in a quarterback-heavy 2018 draft, it’s worth wondering if the Patriots could have gotten a future Tom Brady replacement with a top-four pick. They could still find one in the second round given their success with second-round picks, but nonetheless, having a top-5 pick would have been a great luxury for the Super Bowl favorites.