Jimmy Garoppolo

Pats Didn’t Consider Trading Garoppolo

Although Patriots quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo was popular in trade rumors earlier in the offseason, the reigning Super Bowl champions never considered dealing Tom Brady‘s backup, ESPN’s Adam Schefter told Bleacher Report’s “Stick to Football” Podcast (via Ryan Hannable of WEEI). The Browns were the most aggressive suitors for Garoppolo, even inquiring about him during the first round of the draft, but he’s primed to remain in New England for at least one more season.

Jimmy Garoppolo (Vertical)

As a contract-year player, the Patriots could risk losing Garoppolo to free agency next March and potentially receiving only a compensatory third-round pick in return – significantly less than they would have gotten had they traded him this offseason, perhaps. But Schefter expects the Patriots to find a way to keep Garoppolo past next season, noting that they’re “big believers” in the 25-year-old and consider him the heir to Brady, who’s entering his age-40 campaign. Brady remains the best quarterback in the NFL despite his age, and there’s no indication that he’s going away anytime soon, though Schefter cautions that “Father Time usually wins that battle.”

In the event Brady’s excellence continues in 2017, that should make it more difficult for the Pats to extend Garoppolo, who would likely land a massive contract and a guaranteed starting job if he were to reach free agency next March. As such, the Patriots might have to place the franchise tag on Garoppolo to retain him, which will cost in the neighborhood of $22MM in 2018. Otherwise, if keeping Garoppolo as a franchise player would be too pricey, New England could tag and trade him – as it did with former Brady backup Matt Cassel in 2009.

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East Rumors: Brady, Patriots, Bills, Taylor

Recently, Tom Brady was asked if he is annoyed that Bill Belichick hasn’t traded Jimmy Garoppolo and his non-answer might raise some eyebrows.

When you’re a member of a team sport, the best guy plays,” the Patriots quarterback told Ian O’Connor of ESPN.com. “So I always want to make sure I’m the best guy, and I give our team a great chance to win. But if you’re ever not [the best guy], part of being a great teammate is letting the other guy do that, as well. Competition is what has always driven me. I’ve never been one that was hand selected, to be this particular player. … In high school, college, professionally, I think the greater the competition, the more that it really allows me to dig deep and bring the best out of me.”

Of course, this is a far cry from Brady saying that he’s peeved at the team for not trading the backup QB, but he didn’t shoot the notion down when given the opportunity either. The Patriots were at least mulling a Garoppolo trade at some point this offseason, but it seems that they set an extremely high asking price because they ultimately did not want to part with him.

Here’s more from the AFC and NFC East:

  • In an interview on Monday, Bills GM Brandon Beane said Tyrod Taylor will probably be the team’s starting QB, but he cautioned that he’s “not in business of handing out jobs on May the 15th,” (Twitter link via ESPN.com’s Mike Rodak).
  • Giants kicker Aldrick Rosas cleared a giant hurdle this weekend when the team declined to sign veteran Travis Coons after a weekend tryout. “I try not to focus on the competition,” Rosas told James Kratch of NJ.com. “I just try to focus on how I can improve myself and be the best specialist I can be.” For now, Rosas stands as the only kicker on the team’s roster.
  • The Jets auditioned running back Stevan Ridley last week.

Browns Inquired On Jimmy Garoppolo During Round 1

The Browns once again asked about the availability of Patriots quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo during the draft on Thursday night, but New England rebuffed Cleveland’s advances, per Adam Schefter of ESPN.com (Twitter link).Jimmy Garoppolo (Vertical)

Cleveland, of course, has been interested in acquiring Garoppolo for some time, but the Patriots aren’t inclined to give up the 25-year-old backup. Just last week, Schefter reiterated that a draft-day trade involving Garoppolo was “not happening”, indicating that New England fully intends to hang onto Garoppolo for the 2017 campaign.

At least one report last night also indicated the Browns were attempting to deal for Redskins quarterback Kirk Cousins, and Cleveland is still in the market for a signal-caller after failing to land one last night. At present, Cody Kessler is the incumbent Browns’ starter, while the club also employs Brock Osweiler and Kevin Hogan.

If the Browns do want to make a trade at some point, they’ll certainly have the assets to do so. They own seven more picks in 2017, and picked up an extra 2018 first-rounder in a trade with the Texans on Thursday.

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Jimmy Garoppolo Trade “Not Happening”

The trade speculation around Jimmy Garoppolo has cooled in the months leading up to the draft. After the Patriots’ backup quarterback was viewed as a high-end trade chip to start this offseason, it appears going into the draft the door has slammed shut.

A draft-weekend trade involving Garoppolo is “not happening,” according to Adam Schefter of ESPN.com (on Twitter). Schefter maintains the franchise hasn’t changed its stance since February on unloading the fourth-year passer.

Garoppolo is entering his contract year and would stand to be one of the most interesting free agents of 2018 if he were to get there, but for 2017, Bill Belichick wants him to return as Tom Brady‘s backup, Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk reports. So, if the Patriots are going to pry a first-round pick from a team for a player next weekend, it would likely have to come from a Malcolm Butler deal.

Tom Curran of CSNNE.com said during an appearance on PFT Live it would take two first-round picks for the Patirots to consider parting with the 25-year-old passer. Florio points out that this doesn’t mean the Patriots were never going to trade Garoppolo, but they never received an offer they couldn’t refuse. The Browns were far and away the team that was most associated with Garoppolo interest, but they are not going to trade the No. 1 overall pick for him.

This stands to protect the Patriots against a Brady injury or decline during his age-40 season. The team made impact trades in March to fortify its 2017 roster, acquiring Brandin Cooks, Dwayne Allen and Kony Ealy, while sacrificing its first- and second-round draft picks. But New England looks set to keep Garoppolo as insurance rather than making a similar deal to add an impact player at another position.

The Browns were eyeing Garoppolo as recently as late March, with the organization believed to be gearing up for another run at the fourth-year player. But word came out of Cleveland earlier this week the team was unlikely to swing another deal for a veteran quarterback.

Retaining Garoppolo for 2017 would put the Patriots to a decision next year. The Patriots would, as of now, stand to have Brady set for his age-41 season — and virtually venturing into uncharted waters regarding top-caliber quarterback production at that age — and a 26-year-old backup whom they clearly believe can excel despite limited game work (94 pass attempts). Florio notes the franchise tag could be in order, or the tag-and-trade setup the team used to send Matt Cassel to the Chiefs in 2009. It cost nearly $22MM to use a tag on a quarterback this year, although the Redskins are paying more to Kirk Cousins after previously tagging him, and that number will go up in 2018.

A scenario could exist where both Garoppolo and Cousins are free agents next year, which would be a sharp deviation from the lower-level UFAs populating the quarterback market in recent years. But for now, it appears a fourth year of a Brady-Garoppolo depth chart will take shape in New England.

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Browns Unlikely To Trade For Veteran QB

The Browns don’t envision trading for a veteran quarterback, general manager Sashi Brown told reporters, including Mary Kay Cabot of Cleveland.com (Twitter link), today. Depending on Brown’s definition of the word “veteran,” that could rule out pursuits of the Patriots’ Jimmy Garoppolo and the Bengals’ A.J. McCarron.Jimmy Garoppolo (Vertical)

[RELATED: Browns Likely To Keep No. 1 Overall Pick]

New England reportedly isn’t willing to deal Garoppolo, but that hasn’t stopped the Browns from inquiring. The Patriots’ price for Garoppolo has varied, but Cleveland’s No. 12 pick isn’t going to get a deal done. The Browns aren’t willing to trade the No. 1 overall pick in exchange for a quarterback, so they may simply not match up with the Patriots on a swap.

The Bengals, meanwhile, aren’t actively shopping McCarron, but are willing to trade him (and would even be comfortable shipping him within the AFC North). Geoff Hobson of Bengals.com recently hinted Cincinnati would be open to sending McCarron and the ninth overall pick to Cleveland for pick Nos. 12 and 33. Using Chase Stuart of Football Perspective‘s draft value chart, that deal would imply McCarron is worth the 44th overall selection on his own.

At present, the Browns’ depth chart at quarterback includes Cody Kessler, Kevin Hogan, and Brock Osweiler. Although Osweiler had been expected to be traded or released, Brown said today the ex-Texan will have a chance to compete for the starting QB role, tweets Marc Sessler of NFL.com. Of course, that sentiment could simply be lip service until Cleveland decides how to proceed with Osweiler.

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Extra Points: Pats, Browns, Saints, Mixon

There have been conflicting reports over the past couple months on whether the Patriots will consider trading backup quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo this offseason. The latest update, via Ian Rapoport of NFL.com, indicates the Pats “do not want to deal” Garoppolo, even though he could hit free agency next year. No team has shown more interest in Garoppolo this offseason than the Browns, but they’ve seemingly given up hope on acquiring him, per Rapoport, who adds that the Pats regard the 25-year-old as a franchise-caliber passer. New England already has an all-world option under center in Tom Brady, of course, but the five-time Super Bowl champion is set to play his age-40 season in 2017.

One of Garoppolo’s New England teammates, cornerback Malcolm Butler, has also been a prominent part of trade rumors this offseason. While the Patriots’ intention is to keep Butler, according to owner Robert Kraft, Larry Holder of NOLA.com anticipates that they’ll ultimately deal him to the Saints (video via NFL.com). New Orleans has chased Butler, a restricted free agent, and has reportedly had productive long-term contract discussions with him. The Saints aren’t willing to give up the No. 11 overall pick for Butler, but they could dangle the 32nd selection, which they acquired from the Pats in the Brandin Cooks trade.

More from around the sport:

  • Oklahoma running back Joe Mixon will rack up 15 visits with teams prior to the beginning of the draft on April 27, his agent, Peter Schaffer, told Michael Gehlken of Pro Football Talk. “(This many visits) is clearly not efficient and (consumes) a lot of time,” said Schaffer. “But at the same time, it’s important to have it. It’s a blessing for any player to get considered for the draft. Along with that blessing comes hard work.” Many of the clubs Mixon has met with are willing to forgive him for his checkered past, which jibes with a report that he could go as high as the second round. “Everyone who has brought him in has remarked how remorseful he is about what he did when he was 18 … and that he’s deserving of a second chance,” Schaffer revealed.
  • Former NFLers Greg Hardy, Ahmad Bradshaw, Kellen Winslow, McLeod Bethel-Thompson, Ben Tate and Ricky Stanzi have reported to West Virginia to partake in the Spring League, relays Mike Florio of PFT. The league, which isn’t affiliated with the NFL, will play a six-game season from April 15-26. Its participants won’t receive pay – only lodging and meals during the season – writes Florio. Some pro scouts will be on hand, though, giving the players an opportunity to stand out and earn either a first NFL shot or, in the cases of the aforementioned six, a repeat chance(s).
  • The expectation is that the Ravens will eventually release cornerback Kyle Arrington, reports Jeff Zrebiec of the Baltimore Sun. The Ravens would first like Arrington to pass a physical, notes Zrebiec. Arrington suffered a concussion during the preseason last summer and landed on injured reserve at the end of August. Cutting the 30-year-old would save Baltimore $2.1MM, against just under $667K in dead money.

AFC Notes: Texans, Browns, Jimmy G., Fins

The Texans plan to discuss a contract extension with head coach Bill O’Brien after next season, according to owner Bob McNair (via John McClain of the Houston Chronicle). The 2017 campaign will be the penultimate year of O’Brien’s contract, and he has thus far led the typically quarterback-weak Texans to three nine-win showings and two playoff berths.

Houston continues to be in dire need of help under center, of course, which McNair realizes. “It’s important that we upgrade the play at quarterback,” he told McClain. McNair did express confidence in incumbent starter Tom Savage, though he’s leery of the 26-year-old’s durability issues. “He’s played twice (in regular season) and gotten hurt twice,” McNair noted. “That’s our only concern with Tom. He’s smart enough. He knows the system. He’s got a good arm. I think he can get the job done, but if we depend on him, and he gets hurt in the first or second game . . .”

Savage is only atop the Texans’ depth chart now because of the horrid play of Brock Osweiler, whom they traded to the Browns earlier this month. The move was “a shocker” for McNair, who “couldn’t believe” general manager Rick Smith was able to dump Osweiler’s contract on the Browns (albeit at the cost of a second-round pick). Osweiler is just a year into the four-year pact the Texans handed him as a free agent last offseason. Featuring high cap hits and $37MM in guarantees, the deal quickly became an albatross, and McNair has a theory on why things went so poorly for Osweiler in Houston (via McClain). “(O’Brien) didn’t have a chance to get to know him. That’s one of the problems with free agency,” lamented McNair. “In the draft, we’re able to bring them to Houston, sit down with them, watch them interviewed by a bunch of coaches, and you have time to check them out. You can’t talk to them before they become a free agent. You can’t work them out. We didn’t know him that well.”

Texans brass, including McNair, all seemed to love Osweiler last March, but he then bombed on the field and didn’t mesh with O’Brien in his lone Houston season.

More from the AFC:

  • “An NFL source familiar with all the principals involved” speculates the Browns will “make another run” at Patriots quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo at the league meetings, ESPN.com’s Tony Grossi writes. Business tends to go down at the league meetings with everyone in the same place and we could see trade talks get a jumpstart this week in Phoenix. If a trade does happen, however, the same source says it might not occur until closer to the draft on April 27.
  • Free agent linebacker Zach Brown is reportedly choosing between the Dolphins and Raiders, but Miami’s Mike Tannenbaum-led front office doesn’t seem to be going all-out to sign him, observes Armando Salguero of the Miami Herald. “The lion’s share of our focus right now is on the draft,” said Tannenbaum, the team’s executive vice president of football operations. “If an opportunity came along, we’d evaluate it appropriately. But our focus is really on the draft and something comes along, we’ll certainly look at it.”
  • Defensive tackle Mike Pennel‘s one-year contract with the Jets is worth $990K, Rich Cimini of ESPN.com tweets. There’s no guaranteed money in the deal, but it does come with up to $250K in roster bonuses and a $50K workout bonus.

Zach Links contributed to this post.

Patriots Rumors: Brady, Butler, Garoppolo

Moments ago, Patriots owner Robert Kraft addressed the media in Phoenix, Arizona. Here’s a look at the highlights:

  • Apparently, Tom Brady isn’t going anywhere. “As recently as two or three days ago, he assured me that he’d be willing to play another six or seven years,” Kraft said (Twitter link via Albert Breer of The MMQB).
  • Kraft says that he hopes Malcolm Butler returns to the Patriots for 2017 and that the team’s intention is not to trade him (Twitter link via Nick Underhill of The Advocate). Butler, a restricted free agent, has discussed contractual terms with the Saints and the two sides apparently far off. An unmatched offer sheet from the Saints would result in New Orleans’ No. 11 overall pick going to New England. Of course, that’s a steep price to pay and the Saints are reportedly unwilling to go that far to land the cornerback. The possibility of a sign-and-trade with lesser compensation could be in the cards, but right now the Pats are acting as though they want Butler back.
  • When asked about the possibility of trading quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo, Kraft deferred that decision to coach Bill Belichick (Twitter link via Karen Guregian of The Boston Herald).

AFC Notes: Revis, Garoppolo, Lynch

Criminal charges were dropped against free agent cornerback Darrelle Revis earlier this week, which ostensibly opens the door for him to find a new employer soon. Ben Volin of The Boston Globe reports that one league executive believes a Revis reunion with the Patriots is the only thing that makes sense, and while he would likely not serve as a starting corner in New England, he could be used as a strong safety or as cornerback depth. Interestingly, though, Karen Guregian of The Boston Herald tweets that Patriots head coach Bill Belichick told Revis several years ago that Revis’ skill-set did not translate to the safety position. While that does not preclude a New England reunion, it does add an interesting twist to the Revis saga, as many have taken it for granted that Revis will wind up playing safety for whoever signs him in 2017.

Now for more from the AFC:

  • As Volin notes in the same piece cited above, the Patriots’ apparent desire to trade Malcolm Butler is reflective of the team’s usual philosophy of getting rid of a player a year too soon instead of a year too late. However, the Pats have notably departed from that philosophy with respect to Jimmy Garoppolo, whom the club has been reticent to trade despite the haul of picks they could acquire in return. Volin says the Patriots’ stance with Garoppolo is simply based on the fact that he plays quarterback, and they believe that if something were to happen to Tom Brady, they could still compete for a title with Garoppolo under center. The team took a similar approach in 2014, when they held onto Ryan Mallett throughout training camp and did not deal him until they were confident that Garoppolo could handle the backup role.
  • Some Patriots fans are wondering why the club is willing to trade Butler but handed Stephon Gilmore a mega-deal this offseason. As Dan Hatman of The Scouting Academy (via Mike Reiss of ESPN.com) notes, Gilmore is simply bigger than Butler, and his size and length can create more flexibility for defensive coordinator Matt Patricia when matching up against some of the game’s bigger receivers. Simply put, Gilmore is a premium man corner, and those players get paid.
  • Despite the Morris Claiborne signing, Rich Cimini of ESPN.com still expects the Jets to select a cornerback in the first or second round of this year’s draft.
  • Saturday night, as Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk writes, retired running back Marshawn Lynch retweeted a message in which someone noticed that a musical playlist put together by Lynch contains a track entitled “Oakland Raiders.” The playlist was created in September 2015, but Florio believes the fact that Lynch went ahead and retweeted the message further legitimizes the Lynch-to-Raiders rumors.
  • Meanwhile, new Raiders acquisition Cordarrelle Patterson is actively recruiting free agent running back and former Vikings teammate Adrian Peterson to join him in Oakland, as Ben Goessling of ESPN.com writes. However, the latest reports about a Peterson/Oakland match suggest that Peterson has more interest in the Raiders than the Raiders have in him at the moment.
  • Sean Spence agreed to a deal with the Colts earlier today, and Paul Kuharsky of ESPN.com tweets that Spence’s former team, the Titans, could use newly-acquired Jonathan Cyprien, a strong safety by trade, to fill Spence’s role as nickel linebacker.

Latest On Jimmy Garoppolo

Few NFLers have been involved in more trade rumors over the past several months than Patriots quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo, but “there’s a persistent belief within league circles” that the team wants to retain Tom Brady‘s backup, a high-level employee of an AFC team told Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk.

Jimmy Garoppolo

While Garoppolo would likely fetch a haul in a trade, perhaps from the draft-pick rich Browns, the Patriots are cognizant of the fact that Brady isn’t immortal, notes Florio. As excellent as the five-time Super Bowl champion still is, 2017 will be his age-40 season, so there’s some question as to how much longer he’ll play. By keeping the 25-year-old Garoppolo, the Pats would protect themselves against a sudden retirement or decline from Brady.

Garoppolo will only take up $1.1MM-plus of New England’s spending space next season, his fourth in the league, meaning his presence wouldn’t be onerous to the club’s cap in 2017. Then, if Brady’s still in the fold next winter, the Pats could attempt to re-sign Garoppolo – it seems unlikely they’d succeed, granted, given that he’d be able to find a starting job and more money elsewhere – or even place the franchise tag on him.

In the opinion of head coach Bill Belichick, Patriots third-string quarterback Jacoby Brissett isn’t the long-term answer, suggests Florio, making it all the more realistic that Garoppolo will stay in their plans. Like Brissett, Garoppolo has limited NFL experience, but the latter made good on his first two career starts last year. Garoppolo began the season as New England’s starter because of Brady’s four-game Deflategate ban, and he completed 42 of 59 passes for 496 yards, four touchdowns and no interceptions in wins over the Cardinals and Dolphins. The second game was Garoppolo’s final start of the year – and perhaps his last for a while, if the Pats keep him – as he suffered a sprained AC joint on a hit from Miami linebacker Kiko Alonso and sat out for the remainder of Brady’s suspension.

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