After last week’s report that the Patriots would not trade Jimmy Garoppolo under any circumstances, there seemed to be some confusion in the football world.
Who leaked this to Adam Schefter? Was it the Patriots? And if so, what exactly was it in response to? And should we even believe it?
Those were just some of the questions I asked, as Schefter continued to adamantly confirm his own report on multiple local and national media outlets.
I felt like we weren’t being told the whole story. There just seemed to be something missing.
Well, over the weekend, I believe I found that missing piece: Brandin Cooks.
According to NOLA.com, the Patriots offered their 2017 first-round pick — No. 32 overall — to the New Orleans Saints for Cooks. As part of the deal, the Patriots also wanted a draft pick in return. The Saints declined. But that doesn’t mean they’re done talking.
The same report also said that the Saints would be willing to send back a mid-round pick if the first-round pick they received was high enough. Also according to this report, the Saints are looking to get a draft pick in the middle of the first round. So, as you could imagine, No. 32 overall probably isn’t going to cut it.
As of Wednesday, the Saints had also rejected the Tennessee Titans trade offer for Cooks, which was the No. 18 overall pick in this year’s draft. It’s also been reported that the Philadelphia Eagles are in the mix for Cooks, and they own the No. 14 overall pick.
What does any of this have to do with Schefter’s Garoppolo report last week? A lot. That is, if you want to believe my theory.
The Cooks report that links the Patriots’ interest came out several days after Schefter reported the Patriots will not trade Garoppolo. But that doesn’t necessarily mean it all went down in the order it was reported.
My theory is that the Patriots leaked the Garoppolo intel to Schefter after the Saints rejected their trade proposal, and that the Garoppolo report actually had more to do with the Patriots negotiating a trade for Cooks than anything else.
Which brings me back to what the Saints reportedly want in return for Cooks: a pick in the middle of the first round.
New Orleans isn’t stupid. The Saints know that it makes the most sense for the Patriots to trade Garoppolo before this year’s draft, if they want to move him while his trade value is at its highest. Seeing that Garoppolo’s contract is up after next season, now would be the perfect time for New England to make that move, if it’s ever going to be made.
Knowing that, it would be foolish for New Orleans to accept the Patriots’ 32nd overall pick if a Garoppolo trade is going to land them, let’s say, No. 12 overall from Cleveland.
So, theoretically speaking, here’s how it played out:
The Patriots offered the Saints No. 32 overall for Cooks. The Saints said they want No. 12 overall. The Patriots said, “We don’t have the 12th pick.” The Saints told them, “You’re going to get it when you trade Garoppolo to Cleveland, as some reports have already suggested.” The Patriots then asked themselves, “How can we get the Saints to believe we’re not trading Garoppolo, and get them to accept our offer of No. 32 overall?” The Patriots then answered their own question by calling Schefter, and making him believe that Garoppolo isn’t going anywhere.
Schefter reports it as gospel, and we all react. I, for one, originally thought the Patriots were using him to publicly demand a king’s ransom for Garoppolo. But after I saw the report on the Patriots’ trade talks with the Saints, it all started to make sense.
The missing piece was Cooks.