Cleveland Browns: Jimmy Garoppolo can be an upgrade at the right price

Oct 9, 2016; Cleveland, OH, USA; New England Patriots quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo (10) against the Cleveland Browns during the fourth quarter at FirstEnergy Stadium. The Patriots won 33-13. Mandatory Credit: Scott R. Galvin-USA TODAY Sports
Oct 9, 2016; Cleveland, OH, USA; New England Patriots quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo (10) against the Cleveland Browns during the fourth quarter at FirstEnergy Stadium. The Patriots won 33-13. Mandatory Credit: Scott R. Galvin-USA TODAY Sports /

The Cleveland Browns have been rumored to be interested in Jimmy Garoppolo, and there is one scenario in which trading for him makes sense.

Jimmy Garoppolo, like many New England Patriots players before him, has become a trade asset. And according to rumors, the Cleveland Browns are interested in the quarterback.

There are plenty of people in favor of the Garoppolo move. Others are against it, grouping him with Matt Cassel and Ryan Mallet as previous examples of failed New England backup quarterbacks.

Some say New England’s system is QB friendly, or that he has a small sample size. Then there’s the people who just don’t trust Bill Belichick, and rightfully so. All very valid points with varying degrees of reason.

There are obvious hesitations in trading for another team’s backup quarterback,  but Jimmy Garoppolo very well could be the best QB to come on the trade market since Alex Smith in 2013. The Browns need to utilize the ever-precious “draft capital” they acquired in the Carson Wentz deal and put together a package similar to what the Chiefs sent San Francisco for Smith in 2013. The Chiefs traded a second-round pick (34 overall) and a conditional (second-round) pick the following year to the 49ers for Smith.

They went from 2-14 to 11-5.

Smith hasn’t been elite, but accompanied by a solid defense and run game, Kansas City has turned into a consistent playoff contender. And that is exactly what this Browns franchise is desperate for.

In my opinion, the Browns have the best chance to acquire Garoppolo due to their first pick in the second round. While most think Garoppolo will warrant a first-rounder, his value could end up settling in the Browns’ second-round pick range.

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Teams put all sorts of smokescreens out this time of year, so it’s always tough to determine where teams’ interests really lie. It is known that Bill Belichick loves picking early in the second round, and to have the opening pick on day 2 with all night to listen to trade offers to move up is something he might value highly.

This Browns franchise has continuously been plagued by constant turnover, tumultuous infighting, and any other sort of dysfunction you could find in an organization. The Browns might have finally found a head coach in Hue Jackson. Players respond to him and want to play for him, and that shouldn’t be taken for granted. Not many teams have that much fight left in an 0-14 season as the Browns did in 2016.

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The front office is still an unknown, but this offseason will be a huge factor in their future involvement with this Browns rebuild. In the NFL, you are nothing without a quarterback. Hue Jackson is bound and determined to find the right guy for the job this season and Garoppolo could fit the bill.

Garoppolo is not only an instant upgrade at the position, but he could potentially provide longevity for Hue Jackson and this front office. Something this organization has needed for the last 20 years.

An upgrade at quarterback also helps your offensive line. While the injuries decimated the line this year, there were a few things that we could look forward to going into 2017.

For example:

  • Cam Erving playing decent in his only game at RT in 2016. He’s a bigger, longer body that is a natural fit for the right side of the line. I hope he can salvage his career there, and it seems it’s his only hope.
  • Austin Pasztor re-signing (hopefully) and moving back down to RG where he played well last year. This leaves C as a position of need, but the coaches seemed pleased with Austin Reiter before the ACL injury.
  • Draft options such as C Pat Elflein from Ohio State or OT Ryan Ramczyk from Wisconsin.

The 2016 quarterbacks also didn’t do themselves any favors by holding onto the ball far too long and exposing themselves to unnecessary hits. With Garoppolo under center, the Browns would have a quarterback with a quick release, an accurate arm, and the ability to read the field and go through his progressions.

Think about it:

  • Garoppolo would be better than any QB the Browns have had since Bernie, even with that small sample size.
  • He was able to direct a Gronk-less offense to two victories, and torching Miami and their playoff defense for a half before getting injured in Week 2.
  • Using second-round picks for him frees up the Browns to take two impact players in the first round and another later in the second round to infuse the roster with more young talent.

With Garoppolo being such an efficient quarterback, it really gives guys like Corey Coleman the opportunity to blossom. Coleman would have a passer that could actually get him the ball, and the same goes for Terrelle Pryor. If he could crack 1,000 yards this year, imagine what he could do with a quarterback who can really move the ball down the field.

The move also makes sense based on what Hue Jackson looks for in a quarterback:

  • Accurate (Completed 70 percent of his passes)
  • Doesn’t turn the ball over (zero INTS)
  • Puts the ball in the end zone (four touchdowns)
  • Gets rid of the ball quickly (benefits the O-Line)

(Yes, I am aware that he only started two games this season).

None of the top three quarterback prospects have separated themselves from the other, (yet) and the Browns need to win now. No matter how good a rookie is, there will always be an adjustment period of 1-2 years at the very least. Garoppolo has spent the last three years studying under Tom Brady, learning a pro-style offense, and excelling in it when given the opportunity.

Think about it this way. A potential Browns draft scenario could look like this:

  • No. 1: Myles Garrett
  • No. 12: Impact defensive player of your choice (Reuben Foster or Solomon Thomas?)
  • No. 33: Trade for Jimmy Garoppolo
  • No. 52: OL (Pat Elflein, maybe?)

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This gives the Browns the impact players on defense it desperately needs, while adding an immediate answer at quarterback to take the next step in becoming a competitive football team next season. Even if he is a system quarterback, if you think about what Andy Dalton was able to do under Hue Jackson’s system, just wait until you see what Jimmy will be able to do.