Both Browns and Patriots blew it with lack of Jimmy Garoppolo trade on draft day

San Francisco gets its future QB, who will have eight games to learn the offense. New England adds a high pick in exchange for an expendable part, given Tom Brady's durability.

I always laugh when grades are issued immediately following NFL Drafts. The reality is draft selections can't be truly evaluated until two or three years down the road.

Many draft analysts have given Cleveland an "A" for last week's draft selections. Sorry, I'm not buying into the Browns hype.

Yes, the Browns added some likely starters and potentially strong contributors in their three first-rounders, Myles Garrett, Jabrill Peppers and David Njoku. But what about the franchise quarterback the team has lacked for decades? It's a stretch to believe DeShone Kizer, who the Browns picked No. 52 overall, will be an elite passer.

The Browns blew it by not completing a trade with the Patriots for Jimmy Garoppolo, who showed franchise ability when he led New England to 2016 opening wins over Arizona (which had the league's second-ranked defense last season) and Miami.

MORE: Real winners and losers of the draft

Cleveland reportedly tried to ship the No. 12 overall pick to New England for Garoppolo. We don't know whether the Browns offered additional picks and veteran players, but they certainly should have.

Perhaps the Patriots were asking too much. If so, New England may have blown its opportunity to get the most it can for Garoppolo, who can hit unrestricted free agency next March.

The bottom line is this trade should have happened, as it would benefit both teams.


If the Browns only offered the No. 12 pick, the Patriots were right to say no. The market value for a potential franchise quarterback usually is much more than that of a first-round pick — that has been demonstrated often in recent years with trades involving Jared Goff to the Rams, Carson Wentz to the Eagles and in last week's first-round trades for quarterback picks.

The Bears, Chiefs and Texans, who traded up in the draft to land Mitchell Trubisky, Patrick Mahomes and Deshaun Watson, respectively, obviously understand if a team does not have a franchise quarterback in today's QB-driven league, it better try hard to get one if it wants to make a deep playoff run.

I thought Watson was the top quarterback in this year's class, and Cleveland should have received more than just next year's first-round pick from Houston (which likely will be in the bottom third of the first round) for the right to select the Clemson product. (Another strike against the Browns’ front office.)

Maybe Trubisky and Mahomes will become elite. Maybe they won’t. But at least Chicago and Kansas City are making concerted efforts to identify franchise QBs.

Are the Browns delusional enough to think Kizer, Cody Kessler, Kevin Hogan or — (gasp) — Brock Osweiler can get them over the massive hump they've been trying to climb since the 1980s, when Bernie Kosar at least got them to the AFC title game? Or are they planning to finish at the bottom of the league again and get a shot at the top quarterbacks in next year's strong class?

Maybe Cleveland thinks it can get Garoppolo in 2018 free agency for a cheaper price compared to what New England can command. But would Garoppolo want to go to the perennial cellar dweller Browns?

Once the Browns made the trade with the Texans, Cleveland should have offered New England a package that included its second-rounder this year, Houston's first-round pick in 2018 and one of the Browns’ three 2018 second-round picks. That offer likely would have sealed the deal for Bill Belichick to part with Garoppolo. If necessary, the Browns could have thrown in Kessler, Hogan or Osweiler.

MORE: Kizer a mystery worth exploring

As for the Patriots and Belichick, let's not let them off the hook. They're setting themselves up to lose Garoppolo as an unrestricted free agent next year with little if any compensation.

Yes, Brady turns 40 in August. But he’s playing great, and given his training and nutrition regimen, it appears he can play for several more years at this level. That’s his stated goal.

New England could franchise tag Garoppolo next offseason and try to trade him, as they did with Matt Cassel in 2009, when they sent the QB and linebacker Mike Vrabel to Kansas City for a second-round pick. But the rest of the league would know the Patriots can't keep Garoppolo at a $20 million or so franchise number with Brady still in place.

So Garoppolo's trade value will be far below what it was last week on draft day. There's a chance the Patriots could wind up letting him walk in free agency rather than carrying him for a limited time on their cap at the franchise amount.

A solid No. 2 quarterback is always important, and it's nice to have a backup of Garoppolo's quality. But not at the expense of giving up a boat load of high future draft choices.

MORE: Mock Draft 2018

After the first round of the draft Thursday, Browns GM Sashi Brown said about his team's quarterback situation: "We won't rest until we solidify that position."

Well, Sashi, you still have work to do. Perhaps it's time to call Belichick again and make another offer for Garoppolo.

Because, despite all those high draft grades, the Browns are not making inroads toward their first their first Super Bowl appearance in team history, or even their first playoff berth since 2002, without a franchise signal-caller.

Jeff Diamond is the former president of the Titans and the former vice president/general manager of the Vikings. He was selected NFL Executive of the Year in 1998. Diamond is currently a business and sports consultant who also does broadcast and online media work. He is the former chairman and CEO of The Ingram Group. Follow Jeff on Twitter: @jeffdiamondNFL.


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