Browns are not trading a first-round pick for Jimmy Garoppolo

Feb 5, 2017; Houston, TX, USA; New England Patriots quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo (10) in the third quarter against the Atlanta Falcons during Super Bowl LI at NRG Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
Feb 5, 2017; Houston, TX, USA; New England Patriots quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo (10) in the third quarter against the Atlanta Falcons during Super Bowl LI at NRG Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports /

The Cleveland Browns may be interested in Jimmy Garoppolo as their next quarterback, but any trade scenario involving a first-round pick is ludicrous.

As we continue to count down the days until the start of the new league year on March 9, rumors will swirl about the Cleveland Browns and their ongoing search for a franchise quarterback.

Speculation will focus on drafting a quarterback, signing one in free agency or making a trade for the presumed “best available” quarterback.

It is in that last category that we find New England Patriots backup quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo, who has become the one and only for media members and fans alike after throwing 94 total passes in his three years with the Patriots.

Related: There is no winning a bidding war for Jimmy Garoppolo

There are two parts to any discussion about Garoppolo as the future quarterback for the Browns.

The first centers around the idea of whether or not he is worth trading for in the first place. It has been well established that – outside of lucking into Tom Brady – Patriots head coach Bill Belichick is horrible when it comes to drafting quarterbacks. It is also a complete myth that quarterbacks simply get better by being around Belichick and Brady.

But for the sake of today’s argument, we’ll work under the assumption that the Browns have done their homework, have watched each of those 94 glorious passes in full, and have come to the conclusion that Garoppolo is the man who head coach Hue Jackson wants to hitch his wagon to.

That leads to the second, and just as important, question of how much should the Browns be willing to give up for Garoppolo.

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It was presented early on that the Patriots would want a first-round pick for a player they selected with the 62nd overall selection in the 2014 NFL Draft. And since the Browns hold a pair of first-round picks (No. 1 and No. 12) they of course would be willing to part with one of those in a trade for a quarterback with 94 career passes.

Related: Time and patience key to a Browns rebuild

That has always been a puzzling idea as it is hard to see how a player’s value can appreciate when they spend three years doing nothing.

Pro Football Focus tackled that very subject in a post on Saturday as they try to determine how much is too much to give up in a trade for Garoppolo.

Possibly the most important line in the article – and one that far too many Browns fans simply dismiss – is this one:

"“If Garoppolo is that good, the Patriots should seriously consider keeping him and even franchise tagging him next offseason.”"

It’s great that Brady says he wants to keep playing well into his 40s, and of course the Patriots are going to do everything they can to push that line of thinking, but the reality is that quarterbacks playing well into their 40s doesn’t happen.

But let’s go along with the idea that the Patriots simply must trade Garoppolo. So what should the Browns give up in return?

PFF writer John Kosko used an updated draft chart created by Kevin Meers – who just happens to be the Browns director of research and strategy – to place a value on Garoppolo and determined that the No. 12 overall pick in this year’s draft and a fourth-round pick in the 2018 NFL Draft would be enough to pry away a generational talent from the Patriots.

But then Kosko points out just how ludicrous that plan would be for the Browns:

"… the Browns’ analytical approach covets draft picks, and if that fourth-round pick Cleveland trades is near the top of the round, that package is the equivalent of the fourth overall pick in the draft, based on the chart. Simply put, increasing the value of Garoppolo 58 spots in the draft based on six quarters of play is unlikely. Any conversation that starts with a straight first and fourth for Garoppolo won’t have legs when it comes to the Browns."

"Another popular trade scenario is trading two second-round picks for Garoppolo. If the Browns trade both of their later second-round picks in 2017 (pick 50) and in 2018 (not set, but assume 50 again), that’s valuing Garoppolo as the 10th overall pick—another unlikely trade scenario."

The Browns clearly need to do something to fix the quarterback position. They are not going to win until they do, and if they head into the 2017 season with Robert Griffin III and Cody Kessler as the top two quarterbacks on the roster they will be well on their way to the top overall selection in the 2018 NFL Draft.

Garoppolo may well be the quarterback that Jackson wants and if that is the case the Browns need to see if they can work out a deal with the Patriots.

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But if those trade talks don’t start with executive vice president of football operations Sashi Brown stating that the first-round picks are off the table, then this new regime may not be as smart as portrayed.