The Cleveland Browns contacted the New England Patriots during the first-round of the NFL draft on Thursday in an attempt to acquire Jimmy Garoppolo, but were told, once again, that the backup quarterback was not available for trade, ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter reports.
Colossal prices were paid for quarterbacks by the Chicago Bears (No. 2, Mitchell Trubisky), Kansas City Chiefs (No. 10, Patrick Mahomes II) and Houston Texans (No. 12, Deshaun Watson). The Chiefs and Texans each gave up 2017 and 2018 first-round picks — in addition to other high selections — to take those quarterbacks, while the Bears dealt this year’s first-rounder among four picks in this draft and next.
It marked the first time in the common draft era (since 1967) that three different teams traded up on draft day for a quarterback in the first round.
The Browns shipped the 12th pick to the Texans, who selected Watson, but perhaps that deal wouldn’t have unfolded if the Patriots had been willing to deal Garoppolo.
The 25-year-old Garoppolo started the Patriots’ first two games of 2016 as Tom Brady served a four-game suspension as part of the NFL’s Deflategate penalties. In those two games, Garoppolo completed over 71 percent of his passes for 496 yards, four touchdowns and no interceptions. Garoppolo injured his right throwing shoulder late in the second quarter of his second start, and then missed the team’s next two games.
A 2014 second-round pick out of Eastern Illinois, Garoppolo is entering the final year of his rookie contract with a base salary of $820,077. Once again expected to be Brady’s top backup this year, Garoppolo is scheduled for unrestricted free agency after the season. The Patriots also have 2016 third-round draft choice Jacoby Brissett on the quarterback depth chart behind Brady, who turns 40 on Aug. 3.
As for the Browns, this marks the second year in a row that they have passed on drafting a quarterback in the first round despite a need at the position. In 2016, they traded the second overall pick to the Philadelphia Eagles, who selected quarterback Carson Wentz.
Cody Kessler, a 2016 third-round pick out of USC, is currently projected as the Browns’ starting quarterback.
While the Browns inquired about Garoppolo, one quarterback they never inquired about trading for is Kirk Cousins. Browns GM Sashi Brown called the possibility that the team tried to acquire Cousins “bad reporting.”