Throughout the 2016-17 NFL off-season, one rumor has remained ever-present for the Cleveland Browns. Of course, any off-season buzz revolving along the Browns usually sticks to one subject: quarterbacks. Since 1999, the most important position in football has completely eluded the Browns. However, many fans and analysts alike have called for the Browns to make a very intriguing trade this off-season. That is, they want the Cleveland Browns to trade for New England’s Jimmy Garoppolo. Now, this trade could go one of two ways. Either it could turn the franchise around in an instant, or totally destroy its hopes of rebuilding. The risk is simply too great for the Browns as a franchise. Thus, the Cleveland Browns should turn away from Jimmy Garoppolo.
Cleveland Browns Should Not Target Jimmy Garoppolo
Sample Size Doesn’t Equal Sustained Success
For whatever reason, NFL teams love the mystery of the unknown. That’s partially why Mitch Trubisky has soared up draft boards. Despite only starting for one year, Trubisky has caught the eye of scouts and flown to outrageous levels. At one point before the NFL Combine, some analysts had him going to San Francisco with the second overall pick. While that narrative has changed since then, Trubisky is still a projected high pick in the draft. To some extent, Jimmy Garoppolo is a similar case.
During his time in the NFL, Garoppolo has started in only two games. This sample size, for some reason, has teams very intrigued with him. Additionally, Garoppolo has a 67% completion rating for his career. Although that may look impressive at first glance, it is important to note that Garoppolo has only thrown 94 career passes. The incredible risk that Garoppolo presents just isn’t enough for the Browns to mortgage their future on him.
Matt Cassel and the Patriots Effect
Jimmy Garoppolo’s story sounds very familiar. A backup quarterback for one of the greatest players ever lures teams in with his short-term promise. Remind you of anyone? It should. New England’s Matt Cassel was in the same situation in 2008.
After Tom Brady suffered an injury in the first game of the 2008 season, Cassel took over. That season, Cassel led New England to an 11-5 record. During the following off-season, Cassel garnered attention from a number of teams including the Kansas City Chiefs. The Chiefs liked Cassel enough to trade for him in the off-season. After the trade to Kansas City, Cassel showed his true colors. That is to say, he performed at a mediocre level. When Cassel left from New England, he left his talent behind as well. Could Garoppolo be another victim of the Patriots Effect? Either way, the astonishing amount of risk presents itself once again for the Browns.
Building for the Future
The Cleveland Browns have made it clear that they want to build through the draft. Amassing 22 picks over the next two years, the Browns will rule the NFL Draft over the next couple of seasons. And truthfully, trading for Jimmy Garoppolo would ruin this plan.
If the Browns truly wanted to make a run at Garoppolo, they would need to give up a lot of draft ammunition. While they do have the picks needed to pull the trigger, it just doesn’t make sense. Why give up four to five potential players for one unproven quarterback? This Browns front office centers around the principal of analytics. With that said, they are way too smart to make that move. The Browns want to build for the future, not be prisoners of the moment.
All things considered, it almost seems obvious that the Browns should stay away from Garoppolo. And yet something still appeals to them. Perhaps it’s his potential (even considering risk) or again, the love of the unknown. In any case, the Browns have a few other options at this juncture. First off, they could draft a quarterback coming out of this draft or the next. If not, Cody Kessler might be their best option. Maybe giving Brock Osweiler a chance could work for in Cleveland? If all else fails, the Browns could still sign “Jimmy G” when he becomes a free agent next spring. Whatever route they take, the Browns should know that trading for Garoppolo is just too much of a risk right now.