Setting up Cleveland Browns trade scenarios for Jimmy Garoppolo

The Cleveland Browns must not get played if they decide to pursue Jimmy Garoppolo. Yesterday, when speaking to Will Burge on the WFNY podcast, we agreed that “if” Jimmy G is a legit starter, then basically no amount of draft compensation is too much. That conversation presumes you can know unequivocally that a player is going to be a known quantity. The fact that he isn’t a known quantity is the Cleveland Browns’ leverage, and they must not give it up for any reason.

The Browns shouldn’t have to trade either of their first round picks to the Patriots for Garoppolo. Jimmy Garoppolo will also end up getting paid before he’s given a chance to prove anything on the field. One of the most valuable things about those first round draft selections is having a predictable financial window with a guy who is supposed to be one of the game’s best. If you’re trading for Garoppolo, you might think he’s capable of being one of the game’s best players, but that doubt exists and shouldn’t be discounted.

Whichever team ends up with Garoppolo will probably end up putting somewhere between $30 and $40 million of guaranteed money in his contract. That cash should include something approximating Brock Osweiler’s $12 million signing bonus. The first overall pick will get about $28 million guaranteed over four years, and it is a pick worth more than needed for the Garoppolo trade. That team is then giving up an efficient contract that will be acquired in the draft for the right to sign a somewhat experienced prospect to a huge amount of guaranteed money. The Browns can’t let the Pats ignore it.

I’m starting to get more excited about the prospect of Garoppolo coming to the Browns. Charley Casserly said this week that he thinks Jimmy G is better than any of the draft prospects in this year’s draft. Mel Kiper also indicated that he thinks Garoppolo is Cleveland’s best bet if they want to add a quarterback this off-season.

I just have specific opinions about how the Browns should go about accomplishing the acquisition of Garoppolo. Here are a couple of my ideas that will surely not please Bill Simmons, who is feverishly dreaming of getting the 49ers second-overall pick.

Scenario 1 – Swap first round picks

No, I’m not talking about the first overall pick. New England sends Jimmy and No. 32 to Cleveland for No. 12. New England gets to improve their pick by more than double; depending on which trade value chart you’re using.

Scenario 2 – Cleveland trades New England their 2018 first round pick.

The Browns have consistently pushed their assets forward, but maybe for a quarterback today it would be worth the Browns mortgaging a future pick? If any team in the league should speed up their rebuild by cashing in future assets for pieces that can contribute today, it’s the Browns.

Scenario 3 – Cleveland trades New England Josh Gordon and No. 33 for Garoppolo

On the podcast, I believe Will Burge suggested the Browns could do so. It is an interesting suggestion.

Bottom line is that if the Browns trade for Garoppolo, they can still lose the deal. They could find themselves doing a 2017 rendition of Mike Holmgren trading up for Trent Richardson. If Jimmy Garoppolo is the Browns’ QB for the next five to 10 years, it wouldn’t hurt too badly no matter what they pay. But, if they do it right, it won’t have to “hurt” at all.

In case you missed the latest WFNY podcast, here it is.