Don’t fret Browns, 49ers and Bears fans – Bill Belichick is going to make this easy on you.
The three franchises are 1-2-3, in order, in the first round of the 2017 NFL Draft and all three teams are desperate for a quarterback. A trade for Patriots backup QB Jimmy Garoppolo would be great for any of those three teams, but fans of those franchises are rightfully leery of giving up a top three pick for a guy who could wind up becoming the next Matt Cassel, Brian Hoyer or (gulp) Brock Osweiler instead of the next Tom Brady.
The good news for those fan bases is that obtaining Garoppolo will most likely not include sacrificing one of the top three picks this year.
Yet another example of Belichick and the Patriots going against the grain is that they don’t want early first round picks. In fact, since Belichick took the reigns in Foxboro in 2001 – the Patriots have only selected a player inside the top 10 of the draft two times (Richard Seymour at No. 6 in 2001 and Jerod Mayo at No. 10 in 2010. Of course, the Patriots typically pick later in the draft because they’ve been so good over the years – but through various trades they’ve had their opportunities at getting to a high spot, only to settle for late first round and early second round picks instead.
The reason they shy away from the early round blue-chippers? Money, of course.
The top pick in the draft these days signs a bloated contract usually in the $24-28 million range. Players midway through the first round sign for a fraction of that – usually around $9 million. In the second round it drops further, as players typically sign contracts worth $5 million over four years.
The way Belichick looks at it, early second round picks are basically first rounders and early third round picks are basically second rounders. Therefore, if the Browns, 49ers or Bears truly want Garoppolo, they’ll likely be forking over multiple second and third round picks instead of this year’s first, or any future first round picks.
Sam Bradford was dealt from the Eagles to the Vikings five months ago for a first and a third round pick. With Garoppolo currently having higher value around the league than Bradford did in early September, expect the Patriots’ asking price for his services to be something like: 2017 early second round pick, a future second round pick, and two future third round picks.
Shanahan, a fan
It’s important to remember that Garoppolo was thought of by many as a late first round level talent in the 2014 NFL Draft. He wound up being the fifth QB taken in that draft class behind Blake Bortles (No. 3 to Jacksonville), Johnny Manziel (No. 22 to Cleveland), Teddy Bridgewater (No. 32 to Minnesota), and Derek Carr (36 to Oakland). The Pats finally scooped him up at No. 62 - the third to last pick in the second round.
New 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan, who was then the Cleveland offensive coordinator (no, he wasn’t on board with the drafting of Manziel), recently told the Cleveland Plain-Dealer that he was a Garoppolo fan at the time.
“He was a very good thrower,” Shanahan said. “Tough guy, kept his eyes down the field, could get rid of the ball fast. Really liked the person. I really thought he was a very intelligent, tough player with a good throwing motion.
“I’m sure when (Garoppolo) does get his opportunity whether it’s this earlier this year in the two games he played or possibly next year, who knows what will happen – I’m sure he’ll be ready.”