Set aside for the moment whose version of the Jimmy Garoppolo trade story you believe.
Because whether Patriots coach Bill Belichick was being coerced to trade his backup quarterback or not, the one thing that can’t be argued is that the 49ers got a steal — finding a quarterback of the future for a second-round pick.
Since the Browns were trying to trade for A.J. McCarron at one point, they were clearly in the quarterback market. But according to Terry Pluto of the Cleveland Plain Dealer, they didn’t get a chance to blow the Patriots away with a better offer. And they were willing to.
Pluto said since-fired Browns executive Sashi Brown “was willing to part with Houston’s first-round pick and other goodies.”
Regardless the other goodies, that would have been the No. 4 overall pick in the 2018 NFL Draft, instead of a pick that ended up in the 40s with the Garoppolo-fueled hot streak by the 49ers.
But for whatever reason, the Patriots didn’t make or take the call, and they locked in on making the deal only with the 49ers. A league source has told PFT that Belichick wanted Garoppolo out of the conference, making any Browns hypothetical offer a non-starter.