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Cleveland Browns to pitch trade to New England Patriots for Jimmy Garoppolo

By Alex Butler
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Cleveland Browns to pitch trade to New England Patriots for Jimmy Garoppolo
New England Patriots quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo warms up before the Patriots-Arizona Cardinals game at University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Arizona, September 11, 2016. Photo by Art Foxall/UPI | License Photo

Jan. 31 (UPI) -- Former Clemson quarterback Deshaun Watson has yet to win over the Cleveland Browns ahead of the NFL Draft.

That could push the Browns into trading for New England Patriots backup Jimmy Garoppolo.

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"Sources say the Browns' interest in Garoppolo is real and that they'll try to trade for him depending on how their draft evaluations go over the next five weeks or so," Mary Kay Cabot wrote for Cleveland.com.

The Browns have the top pick in the 2017 NFL Draft. Watson and Mitch Trubisky are the top-2 prospects at the position. The San Francisco 49ers are expected to draft one of those options with the No. 2 selection.

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Cleveland could part with one of its picks in a possible deal with the Patriots for the gunslinger. The Browns used six different players at quarterback in 2016.

In December, former Browns executive Mike Lombardi said that Garoppolo could end up in Cleveland.

Lombardi worked with Patriots coach Bill Belichick in Cleveland in the 1990s and was a front-office assistant from 2014 to 2016 for the Patriots.

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"The next quarterback that'll be the Cleveland Browns' quarterback perhaps is Jimmy Garoppolo in New England," Lombardi said on FS1's Speak for Yourself, via Ohio.com. "I think Cleveland understands, Hue Jackson specifically understands he needs a quarterback. I think they'll be very aggressive. I think Jimmy Garoppolo's on top of their list, and I think they'll go hard after him. I think the Patriots will decide whether [to trade Garoppolo] based on the deal they're offered and Cleveland has enough assets to entice them."

Garoppolo, 25, is 2-0 as a starting quarterback. He earned the starts during Tom Brady's four-game DeflateGate suspension earlier this season. He was drafted in the second round of the 2014 NFL Draft.

Garoppolo is due $820,077, with a $75,000 workout bonus, in 2017. He is a free agent in 2018.

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The Houston Chronicle also listed Garoppolo as a target for the Houston Texans.

"Right now, it's just focusing on the Super Bowl," Garoppolo told reporters before the Super Bowl, via the Chronicle. "Biggest game of the year right now and toughest game, too. We're just trying to go out there and play our best game."

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MMQB's Andrew Brandt wrote that a big haul for Garoppolo is "delusional."

"To think that a team is giving up 1) a first-round pick for Jimmy Garoppolo or 2) two first-round picks for Kirk Cousins (assuming he receives the franchise tag) is, well, delusional," Brandt wrote.

Garoppolo has completed 63-of-94 passes for 690 yards, five touchdowns, and zero interceptions in three seasons for the Patriots.

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