BEREA, OH (WOIO) - As reports and rumors continue to fly about what the Browns would or wouldn't offer the Patriots for quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo -- a first-round pick, two first-round picks, a first- and second-round pick, etc. -- fans should keep in mind that there may be an even bigger hurdle to clear.
Garoppolo could stop any trade.
He doesn't have a no-trade clause, of course, very few NFL players do, but he's a year away from free agency. So any team trading for him is going to want to sign him to a long-term deal. Without that commitment, you'd be foolish to trade a bushel of picks for him (or anyone).
So Garoppolo (or his agent, who also represents Tom Brady) could simply tell the Patriots: "Whoever you're thinking of trading us to, tell them we're not signing there. We want to be a free agent." And that would be the end of any trade talk.
No team, even the Browns, would be dumb enough to make a big trade offer for a guy who could walk in a year.
(It would also hurt the Patriots, who not only wouldn't get a big haul for their backup QB, they could lose him for nothing in a year. Or they could take the risk of franchising him at $20 or 25 million a year, which seems pretty steep for a backup.)
Wouldn't it be better for Garoppolo to wait a year, become a free agent, then choose his next team rather than have New England choose for him?
If he's smart, he'd also tell that next team (Bears, 49ers, Browns, etc.): "Don't trade for me, keep your picks and build your team. Next year you can just sign me and it won't cost you anything more than money."
So remember, Garoppolo's in charge here. Not the Patriots.
And certainly not the Browns.