While RGIII figured to find himself in the NFL record books following his historic rookie campaign, yet another injury has derailed the once-promising career of the newest addition to the Browns’ decades-long quarterback carousel of destruction. Griffin, who is almost assuredly comprised of glass, suffered a “severe” injury to his non-throwing shoulder, sidelining the hapless signal caller of the NFL’s worst team for at least the foreseeable future. The franchise with the NFL’s longest active streak of seasons without a playoff appearance will likely turn to Johnny Manziel in Griffin’s absence. Oh, wait. Never mind.
While last season’s backup frolics about the Caribbean with assorted escorts accepting snortable currency, the Browns will now likely turn to the McCown brother who isn’t a New Orleans Saint, and/or late round rookie Cody Kessler fresh out of USC. As is tradition with the Cleveland franchise, the scoreboard, both on and off the field, plainly reads: Fucked.
But I think I have a solution. On Sunday night, a quarterback that has spent his entire career under the tutelage of Bill Belichick lead an injury-ridden New England Patriots to victory on the road against the Arizona Cardinals, a team considered by Vegas and most prognosticators as one of the three most likely to win the Super Bowl. This quarterback has learned directly from Belichick, multiple-time Super Bowl Champion Offensive Coordinator Josh McDaniels, and the greatest quarterback of all time in Tom Brady. He has spent his entire career absorbing and experiencing the unrivaled culture of winning (and probably cheating) that is New England: Jimmy Garoppolo.
Since Bill Belichick is not ready to pull a Chip Kelly (trade your most talented players for lesser value and questionable fits in your particular system), why the fuck would he trade this kid? Because, in reality, he doesn’t have a choice. Garoppolo is now in his third NFL season, the last of the original term of his rookie contract that does include a fifth-year team option. While Garoppolo is an incredible value on the current roster with a cap hold hovering around the minimum, this salary-saving deal is nearing the end of the line. In a league starved of adequate quarterbacks, even Brock Osweiler is worth nearly $20 million per season.
The Osweiler contract matters immensely for Garoppolo and New England, as both players were second round picks and share a similar resume through their respective early careers: both have showcased potential and the ability to lead close victories even while simply sitting behind legends at the top of the depth chart for most of their careers. There is no question that following his option year, which will also result in a large pay increase for Garoppolo, a desperate NFL franchise weighing other free agent options such as Blaine Gabbert and Colin Kaepernick will give Garoppolo a look, and likely a hell of a lot of money.
This is a mess for New England, as the timing just has not worked as planned. Tom Brady is still pretty damn elite, even as he nears 40 and Giselle’s looks continue to fade. He’s just one year removed from a Super Bowl Championship, and has expressed a desire to continue in the league for another three to five seasons. While having a legendary quarterback is a definite NFL blessing, getting rid of one is nearly impossible. With that in mind, and the idiocy that would be Drew Bledsoe’ing Tom Brady an impossibility, there is simply no way the Pats can formulate a competitive roster under the NFL salary cap with the funds necessary to retain Garoppolo and Brady allotted to one position on the depth chart. It just cannot happen.
So, here enter the Browns. After trading down and missing out on Carson “Goober” Wentz, the Brownies feature a perpetually injured trainwreck, a nearly 40-year-old career backup, and a rookie that barely made their pathetic roster. This team, and this much-beleaguered fan base, need the often completely unfounded optimism that surrounds the addition of a young quarterback. Trade a first rounder to New England, Browns, because you not need another Justin Gilbert anyhow. You clearly can’t be trusted to draft for yourselves, so go ahead and pawn what you can from Belichick. It’s like he’s your surrogate coach and GM. This will give the Browns two seasons to audition Garoppolo on an extremely reasonable contract, and the immense advantage of retaining his services in free agency if they so choose. Belichick can trade the pick down four or five times, resulting in a dozen or so low-round picks that Jon Gruden will love on special teams.
The Browns have hope, the Pats do what they do. Everybody wins..
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