It says a lot, honestly, when the most popular player associated with the Cleveland Browns lately isn’t even on the roster. Somehow, in an offseason which involves planning for a draft in which the team has two first-round picks and a successful first day in free agency, the top trending name for the Browns is still Jimmy Garoppolo.
Every move or prediction concerning Cleveland seems to be framed around the New England Patriots backup QB. The Browns make a trade for another draft pick? Must have to do with a Garoppolo trade. Will the Browns draft a rookie quarterback with the No.12 overall pick? Depends on whether or not they have Garoppolo.
While other teams initially considered as potential destinations for Tom Brady‘s understudy have moved on, Cleveland still finds itself in updated trade rumors every single week.
Making it frustrating is just how far each rumor is on opposite sides of the spectrum. A good amount of pundits still hear a deal for Garoppolo can be made for a handful of second-round picks. Some say it’s going to (inexplicably) take two first-rounders to pry him out of Boston. Others are being told Garoppolo is 100% going nowhere and Cleveland is wasting its time.
Honestly, the nonstop back-and-forth has just been exhausting. Do the Browns have the necessary pieces to make a deal? Are they working on one? If so, are they spinning their wheels going after someone the Patriots aren’t even making available?
As you can see, we’re all in need of some clarity here. One would hope such a thing is coming next week.
NFL owners meetings open up this Sunday in Phoenix. It’ll be the first time higher-ups from both Cleveland and the Patriots will be able to talk face to face about, among other things, Garoppolo. For many reasons, most of which are obvious, the Browns have to leave these meetings knowing the availability status of New England’s backup QB.
Though Cleveland wouldn’t openly admit it, the moves the team has made over the past few months seem to be opening the door for Garoppolo. The front office literally purchased an additional second-round pick when trading for Houston Texans letdown Brock Osweiler. It also sent both Josh McCown and Robert Griffin III packing. The quarterback depth chart at the moment is Osweiler, Cody Kessler and Kevin Hogan.
It’s difficult to believe this is an ideal set up for the Browns. It’s far more believable to think they’ve been hitching their wagon to a potential Garoppolo trade.
To date, though, there’s no way to know if this effort is valiant or a waste of time. As mentioned earlier, various sources have issued conflicting updates on whether or not Garoppolo can even be had regardless of what Cleveland offers.
This is why the Browns need to find time to talk to New England’s front office members next week. They need to know whether or not their efforts to assemble a boatload of capital for a potential trade has been futile. Or, if not, what it’s going to take to get a trade done.
It’s clear Cleveland has its sights set on making a run at Garoppolo. The team, like us, is hearing mixed signals on whether or not such a move is doable. As a result, the Browns must do their due diligence next week and have discussions with New England to either start greasing the wheels on a deal or get closure. They have to leave these meetings knowing either that a trade can be made or that it’s time to move on.
Bottom line – with so many offseason plans seemingly linked to Garoppolo, the Browns need to know with 100% clarity whether or not he’s someone they can actually acquire. They can’t afford to waste any more time on gunning for a quarterback who may not even be on the market.