Former Browns GM and Patriots executive Mike Lombardi mentioned during Thursday’s “Speak for Yourself” that expects the Browns to target Jimmy Garoppolo during the offseason.
“The next quarterback that’ll be the Cleveland Browns’ quarterback perhaps is Jimmy Garoppolo in New England,” Lombardi said, via the Akron Beacon-Journal. “I think Cleveland understands, [coach] Hue Jackson specifically understands he needs a quarterback. I think they’ll be very aggressive. I think Jimmy Garoppolo’s on top of their list, and I think they’ll go hard after him.”
The Browns have a ton of draft capital to work with next year and have already completed a trade with the Patriots when they agreed to a deal for LB Jamie Collins.
“I think the Patriots will decide whether [to trade Garoppolo] based on the deal they’re offered and Cleveland has enough assets to entice them,” Lombardi said. “…[The Browns are] going to have to use those draft picks on a player, and if you can get a starting quarterback who can play in cold weather, who can do a lot of things that Hue Jackson likes to do, I mean do you want to give up all your assets or do you want to go after A.J. McCarron who was [Jackson’s] backup [quarterback] in Cincinnati? I think you’re better off going after Garoppolo and get the better player.”
Cleveland continues to come up as a potential landing spot for Garoppolo.
Last month, Albert Breer of TheMMQB.com suggested the Browns and Saints as two teams worth keeping an eye on as potential options Garoppolo next year.
Breer could see the Browns possibly trading their second first-round pick and using their own top pick on Texas A&M DE Myles Garrett.
If a team were to acquire Garoppolo, they could allow him to play out his rookie contract and then franchise him the following year if they can’t get a long-term deal done.
The Patriots are clearly going to have to make Garoppolo available next year, as this would likely allow them to recoup a better draft pick, considering that he still has one year remaining on his affordable rookie contract. Otherwise, they would have to wait until 2019 to get a compensatory pick for him.
Garoppolo, 25, is a former second-round pick of the Patriots back in 2014. He’s currently in the third year of his four-year, $3,483,898 rookie contract and stands to make a base salary of $686,718 for the 2016 season.
Next year, Garoppolo has a base salary of $820,077 to go along with a $75,000 workout bonus.
In 2016, Garoppolo has completed 70 percent of his passes for 496 yards, four touchdowns and no interceptions for the Patriots over the course of four games.
We’ll have more regarding where Garoppolo could end up as the news is available.