As Hue Jackson vehemently pointed out last week at the Senior Bowl, the Cleveland Browns still haven’t found themselves a franchise quarterback. Per the most recent rumors, they may at the very least have their sights set on the latest attempt to fix that.
Per numerous reports, both local and national, Cleveland is expected to go after New England Patriots backup Jimmy Garoppolo once the Super Bowl has come and gone. After riding the pine behind Tom Brady for the past three seasons, common belief is the Browns are going to make an effort to turn him into their 2017 starting quarterback.
I personally have no problem with this strategy. None of the QBs in the draft truly stand out as can’t-miss prospects, so I’d rather them target Garoppolo and focus on other areas of weakness instead of reaching for a rookie signal-caller.
However, I encourage Cleveland to get the Patriots to back down on their current asking price. Reports state New England is seeking a first-round pick in exchange for Garoppolo, a demand which is way too much for the Browns to meet.
Again, I like the idea of Cleveland considering New England’s backup as a potential solution at quarterback. Garoppolo is an intriguing option, and has played well when given an opportunity.
My issue with giving up a first-round pick, though, comes from how few opportunities he’s actually had.
For his career, Garoppolo has played in 17 games, just one over a full season’s worth across the past three years. On the surface, sure, this doesn’t seem like it would highlight any sort of lack of experience.
Things change when you realize, of those 17 appearances, only two were starts. Outside of Weeks 1 and 2 of this past season, the majority of Garoppolo’s action on the field was in garbage time.
To be fair to the former Eastern Illinois standout, he looked great in said games this season. Four touchdowns, no picks and an average quarterback rating of around 120.7 is nothing to scoff at.
Despite this, there’s still no avoiding the fact he’s unproven. To demand a first-round pick in exchange for someone who’s made so few legitimate appearances is extreme.
This is especially so when you consider how high said first-rounder would be.
Let’s clear this up right away – there’s no way New England honestly thinks it’s getting the No.1 pick for Garoppolo. I’m not going to bother wasting more space on something that insane.
Outside of that, Cleveland’s No.12 pick also seems too extreme for the Patriots’ backup. There are just too many questions to ask when you consider ponying up a selection that high.
What evidence is there proving Garoppolo is worth a first rounder, besides two full games and general potential? As great as he looked in his starts, is it enough to claim such a high price is merited? Does being Brady’s understudy ramp up the likelihood of his success?
If that’s part of New England’s reasoning, the career-paths of Ryan Mallett and Brian Hoyer seem to conflict with this belief.
This isn’t to say Garoppolo will follow the same route. Again, I encourage the Browns to pursue this trade. The only sticking point is the price tag.
Complicating matters is the fact there will likely be other teams bidding, as the San Francisco 49ers and Chicago Bears have both been linked to him. Cleveland may need to be aggressive if he’s really its prime target.
Still, the team needs to dig its heels in when it comes to talking down the current price.
The Browns shouldn’t slow down any pursuit of Garoppolo, as this isn’t meant to discredit his abilities. It’s just highlighting the fact giving up a top 15 draft pick for someone who’s yet to prove he can be a franchise quarterback is too much to ask.