New England Patriots

The Cleveland Browns dominated Jimmy Garoppolo trade talks in the offseason. Now, with Jimmy G. in San Francisco, they’re somehow popping back up again. That’s because a new report suggests they would’ve given up much more for Tom Brady’s former backup – and never even had a chance to offer it.

Terry Pluto of the Cleveland Plain Dealer added a new wrinkle to the intrigue of the Garoppolo trade in a Monday column. Regardless of how believable you find Seth Wickersham’s story on ESPN, it’s curious that Bill Belichick ended up shipping Garoppolo to the 49ers for only a second-round pick. The head coach certainly sounded like he wanted to keep the player. And even if Robert Kraft or Tom Brady never issued a “mandate,” as Wickersham’s often-sensationalized story claimed, he ended up with no other choice.

But why did the Browns get “frozen out,” as Pluto describes?

The Browns reportedly got frozen out of Jimmy Garoppolo trade talks with the Patriots. (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)

Jimmy Garoppolo (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)

No Garoppolo Trade For Cleveland

Pluto also reported that he knows the Browns were willing to trade the Texans’ first-round pick “and other goodies” for Garoppolo. The pick turned out to be No. 4 in this April’s NFL Draft. But they never even had a chance to make that kind of offer, according to the report.

Apparently, they couldn’t even start a conversation about Garoppolo on Oct. 28, just two days before the trade happened.

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In addition, Rich Shertenlieb of 98.5 The Sports Hub’s Toucher & Rich spoke to his Patriots sources about the trade. The sources told him that Belichick believed it was worth dropping form the first round to the second in order to keep Garoppolo out of the AFC.

The part about keeping him out of the AFC may be hard to believe, considering this is the Browns we’re talking about here. But if Garoppolo really is that good that he could do the impossible and make the Browns good again? Belichick would spend years regretting the move. Even if he got a stud with this year’s No. 4 pick. On the contrary, if the Browns squandered Garoppolo and the QB struggled, it would’ve been a bad look for the Hoodie.

(L-R) Tom Brady, Jimmy Garoppolo (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)

Why the 49ers?

Apparently, in Belichick’s mind he was much better off trading Garoppolo to San Francisco. Simply because they had a better chance to make Bill look good than Cleveland. He got Garoppolo out of the AFC and head coach Kyle Shanahan certainly gives the QB a far greater chance to succeed than Hue Jackson or whoever’s on the sidelines in Cleveland down the road. Five games in, all wins for the 49ers, Belichick looks right about that.

Clearly, Belichick and the Patriots could have gotten more for Garoppolo. It’s virtually impossible to argue otherwise. Teams have gotten far more just to move up a few spots in the draft.

But at the end of the day, this could simply be a reflection on the Browns, who are 1-31 in the past two seasons. Belichick didn’t want to send Garoppolo there because he’d have little chance of actual success. And on the off chance he did turn the franchise around, Belichick would have a fresh and unnecessary problem on his hands in the AFC. Both reasons can be true.

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We may spend the rest of Garoppolo’s career wondering why Belichick didn’t try to leverage other teams for a trade. But if you ask me, it’s pretty clear why he didn’t end up in Cleveland.

— By Matt Dolloff, 985TheSportsHub.com

Matt Dolloff is a digital producer for 985TheSportsHub.com. Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Have a news tip, question, or comment for Matt? Follow him on Twitter @mattdolloff or email him at matthew.dolloff@bbgi.com.