Patriots wanted to 'do right' by Jimmy Garoppolo, so they didn't trade him to Browns

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Frank Schwab
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The part of the New England Patriots’ trade of Jimmy Garoppolo to the San Francisco 49ers that never made sense is the return. It seemed the Patriots could have gotten more. And it seemed weird the Cleveland Browns didn’t offer more to land him.

The 49ers acquired Garoppolo for a second-round pick. If you make Garoppolo eligible for the 2018 draft, he would be picked long before the second round started. And at the same time, the Browns were reportedly trying to trade a second- and third-round pick for AJ McCarron, who most people probably wouldn’t choose over Garoppolo. It doesn’t add up.

An interview from ESPN’s Adam Schefter offered one theory: The Patriots apparently didn’t want to send him to Cleveland, where quarterbacks’ careers die. Schefter said once the Patriots figured out a couple days before the deadline they had to trade Garoppolo (I’m not sure why it took that long; the writing was on the wall for a long time), they reached out to the 49ers even though the Browns had tried “over and over” in the spring to get Garoppolo and tried again in the fall but got nowhere.

“In this particular case, New England came to the realization before it made any calls, ‘Ok, unfortunately for us, as much as we want to keep Jimmy Garoppolo, we can’t,’ ” Schefter said on the “Murph & Mac” show on KNBR (h/t to 49ers Web Zone). “‘We have to trade him, and we’ve got to trade him here in the next two days. Where do we want to trade him? I like John Lynch and Kyle Shanahan. I think they’re going to do right by Jimmy G. Let’s call them.”

Schefter said the Patriots called the 49ers to pitch the trade and it took five minutes to get it done, which makes sense because the 49ers got a steal. San Francisco had to be shocked it fell in its lap like that. Schefter said he thinks the Patriots reached out to the 49ers because of Bill Belichick’s respect for Garoppolo, and his respect for 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan and their GM John Lynch.

And if that’s all true, the cold-hearted, bottom-line-only Patriots took less from the 49ers (if the Browns were going to trade a second and third for McCarron, you have to imagine they’d have done the same or more for Garoppolo), just to save Garoppolo from having to go to the Browns. Ouch.

There’s some speculation involved from Schefter so this shouldn’t be taken as absolute fact, but Schefter is plugged in and if that’s all true, the Patriots getting a relatively short return on Garoppolo then makes sense. Also, if it’s true, can you imagine the reaction in the Browns’ front office when news of the trade broke?

The Browns are in a good spot to get their quarterback. They’re going to get the first pick of next year’s draft with some intriguing prospects in the class. They fired old GM Sashi Brown and hired John Dorsey, who should be able to turn the picks Brown stockpiled into good players (now that we hear this Garoppolo story from Schefter, did the circumstances of the Garoppolo non-trade lead to owner Jimmy Haslam firing Brown?). The Browns didn’t land Garoppolo, but it could end up being fine. Maybe, if Josh Rosen or Sam Darnold or whoever the Browns choose is a superstar, maybe Cleveland is even better off for not landing Garoppolo.

But the whole story is a glimpse into how low Cleveland has sunk.

Jimmy Garoppolo was traded from the Patriots to the 49ers before this year's trading deadline. (AP)
Jimmy Garoppolo was traded from the Patriots to the 49ers before this year’s trading deadline. (AP)

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Frank Schwab is a writer for Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at or follow him on Twitter!