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Sunday 7: If Malcolm Butler wants to be traded, he better sign tender soon 03.26.17 at 6:00 am ET
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If Malcolm Butler wants to play for another team in 2017, things need to get moving. (Bob DeChiara/USA Today Sports)

If Malcolm Butler wants to play for another team in 2017, things need to get moving. (Bob DeChiara/USA Today Sports)

1. There’s no question the Malcolm Butler situation is a very complex one. As it stands now, Butler hasn’t signed his first-round tender with the Patriots ($3.91 million) and he has until June 15 to do so, but if he wants to play for another team next year, he needs to get moving with the process. The process starts with him signing his tender, so the Patriots can negotiate a deal with other teams, or he could hope a team places an offer sheet on him, which teams have until April 17 to do so. This seems unlikely because teams probably wouldn’t want to give up a first-round pick and sign him to a long-term deal. He has no chance of getting traded unless he signs his tender and with teams finalizing their draft plans, they likely want to know what is going to happen with Butler beforehand. For example, if the Saints don’t acquire Butler before the draft, they likely will draft a cornerback high in the draft. If Butler doesn’t get moved before the draft, the likelihood he returns to the Patriots in 2017 increases. The 27-year-old could be dealt after the draft, but then the compensation would be for 2018 and probably not for as much as it would have been before the draft. Bottom line, if Butler wants to play outside New England next season, he should look to sign his tender soon.

2. The Patriots will be an active team this week at the NFL owners meetings in Phoenix, Arizona. Robert Kraft is on six committees, which will meet over the course of the week. They include: media (which he chairs), NFL Network, finance, compensation, management council executive committees and chairmen’s committee. Also, Jonathan Kraft co-chairs digital media and serves on the business ventures committee. Bill Belichick was scheduled to speak Tuesday at the AFC coaches breakfast Tuesday morning when every coach has a table and is available for an hour, but Saturday night it was reported by the Boston Herald’s Jeff Howe, he has a “scouting conflict” and will not be speaking. Sean Payton will be interesting on the NFC side Wednesday morning at their breakfast with how he talks about Butler. Last week the way he was talking following Butler’s visit was almost like it was a done deal he would play for the Saints. With nothing happening this past week, maybe things have changed. Lastly, with top executives from every team in the same place, the Garoppolo rumors could heat up once again even with ESPN’s Adam Schefter continuing to be adamant he won’t be traded. It’s been reported the Browns will circle back with the Patriots and make another offer this week.

3. Another big thing at the owners meetings is rule changes. Although the Patriots didn’t propose any changes for the second straight year, they still will keep an eye on how the voting shakes out. Banning leaping over the line of scrimmage when attempting to block a kick has been proposed, as well as permitting a coach to challenge any officials’ decisions, except scoring plays and turnovers. One of the more outlandish proposals came from the Redskins, who are proposing to make a touchbacks at the 20-yard line when the kick goes through the uprights opposed to the normal 25-yard line.

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Read More: Bill Belichick, Jimmy Garoppolo, Malcolm Butler, Robert Kraft
Browns reportedly could make another run at trading for Jimmy Garoppolo next week 03.21.17 at 3:59 pm ET
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The Browns could make another run at Jimmy Garoppolo next week. (Mark J. Rebilas/USA Today Sports)

The Browns could make another run at Jimmy Garoppolo next week. (Mark J. Rebilas/USA Today Sports)

The last time all of the NFL was together, which was in Indianapolis for the NFL combine, ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported the Patriots would not trade Jimmy Garoppolo and has stuck by his report ever since.

The NFL will once again all be together next week in Arizona at the league meetings, which means there is yet again another Garoppolo rumor.

According to ESPN’s Tony Grossi who covers the Browns, he’s been told the Browns would make another run at trading for Garoppolo in Arizona at the league meetings given the two sides would be together at the same venue.

The Browns have a number of high draft picks both this year and next year, which could be attractive to the Patriots, especially since they don’t have a first or second-round pick in this year’s draft. Despite Schefter being so adamant the Patriots won’t trade Garoppolo, if they get blown away by an offer it’s hard to imagine them saying no.

Even though the Browns acquired Brock Osweiler in a trade with Houston, the franchise reportedly is looking to trade or cut him, so they are still in the market for a quarterback, which has them still connected to Garoppolo.

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ESPN’s John Clayton speculates Patriots will indeed trade Jimmy Garoppolo to Cleveland 03.15.17 at 2:31 pm ET
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Would the Patriots trade Jimmy Garoppolo to the Browns? (Mark J. Rebilas/USA Today Sports)

Would the Patriots trade Jimmy Garoppolo to the Browns? (Mark J. Rebilas/USA Today Sports)

The Jimmy Garoppolo rumors will only heat up between now and the draft.

Appearing on Mighty 1090 in San Diego on Tuesday, ESPN’s John Clayton speculated given the Browns’ quarterback situation they will end up by trading for Garoppolo.

“I think in the end they have to come to some kind of Jimmy Garoppolo trade, but as far as Brock Osweiler, he is just being held up until somebody makes an offer, and I don’t think anybody is going to make an offer,” he said. “Cleveland was the only team willing to pick up that $16 million guaranteed salary and the only reason they did it was to pick up that second-round pick in 2018. What they are offering is they will give you a third-round pick if you take him because they get a fifth back. Nobody is going to do that deal because no one is excited about Brock Osweiler at this stage.

“In the end, Cleveland I think at the moment has a worse quarterback situation than they did last year because Terrelle Pryor was probably their best quarterback, RG3 [Robert Griffin] struggled and all they have right now is Brock Osweiler, who they expect to cut if they can’t get a trade, and Cody Kessler and [Kevin] Hogan. Not a great situation.

“Particularly with the Patriots not having a picks in rounds one and two, there has to be some kind of trade coming up with Jimmy Garoppolo.”

Clayton also said with the Patriots not having a first or second-round pick, that only increases the chances of them dealing him.

“Let’s put it this way, [Bill Belichick] doesn’t have picks in rounds one and two, and if they don’t get Dont’a Hightower signed, they are down four players on defense and this is a good defensive draft,” Clayton said. “They need some defensive volume. This is why I can’t see them sitting there with a quarterback who is not going to play next year because he has Tom Brady on the team, waiting to get a third round compensatory pick in 2018 when he can get a good group of draft choices now.”

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No asking price is too high for Jimmy Garoppolo –– and teams should be willing to pay it 03.13.17 at 1:47 pm ET
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Jimmy Garoppolo's future with the Patriots will likely be a story all year long. (Bob Donnan/USA Today Sports)

Jimmy Garoppolo’s future with the Patriots could be a story all offseason. (Bob Donnan/USA Today Sports)

If the Patriots are going to deal Jimmy Garoppolo, it’s apparent they want multiple first-round picks in return. Recent history suggests that’s a more than appropriate demand. Teams would be crazy to turn it down.

Despite Adam Schefter’s insistence that Garoppolo will stay in New England, trade rumors involving him will likely persist throughout the offseason –– and possibly into training camp. The Browns, due to their abundance of draft picks and pressing need for a quarterback, are often cited as the most sensible landing spot for Garoppolo. But apparently, they’re not willing to pay the necessary price.

According to Mary Cay Kabot of Cleveland.com, the Browns refuse to part with two first-round picks in order to bring Garoppolo aboard. She reports Cleveland insists on hanging onto the No. 1 overall selection, which it will likely use to draft defensive standout Myles Garrett.

While surrendering at least a couple of high draft picks to acquire somebody who’s played just five and a half impressive quarters in the NFL may seem outlandish, it’s the market rate for Garoppolo. Teams give up that kind of draft capital to bring in quarterbacks who haven’t even stepped onto a professional field.

Five years ago, the Redskins traded three first-round picks and a second-rounder to the Rams for the chance to draft Robert Griffin III. Following his Heisman trophy win as a senior with Baylor in 2011, Griffin looked like he was ready to dominate in the NFL. Washington gave up a lot to get him, of course, but a franchise quarterback is priceless. RGIII took home Rookie of the Year honors in 2012, but then injuries derailed his career. The Browns released him earlier this month.

The Rams and Eagles followed in the Redskins’ footsteps last year, when they each traded two first-round picks for the opportunity to draft Jared Goff (No. 1) and Carson Wentz (No. 2), respectively. Though Wentz showed some flashes of brilliance, neither quarterback impressed in his rookie campaign. Goff didn’t even start until Week 10.

There’s no guarantee Garoppolo, 25, will be a perennial Pro Bowler, but he has a better chance than rookies like Wentz and Goff. Garoppolo played spectacularly well during last year’s season-opener, posting a 106.1 rating in the Patriots’ 23-21 win at Arizona. His first half against the Dolphins the following week, in which he threw for three touchdown passes before leaving with a shoulder injury, was even better. It’s a small sample size, but Garoppolo has shown he can dissect NFL defenses. Oh, and he’s been learning behind Tom Brady for three years as well. That must be worth something.

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Read More: Jimmy Garoppolo, New England Patriots,
Sunday 7: Jimmy Garoppolo trade talk will certainly continue with current draft situation for Patriots 03.12.17 at 6:00 am ET
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The Jimmy Garoppolo trade talk is only going to continue. (Mark J. Rebilas/USA Today Sports)

The Jimmy Garoppolo trade talk is only going to continue. (Mark J. Rebilas/USA Today Sports)

1. Following the two trades the Patriots made Friday in acquiring Kony Ealy and Brandin Cooks, the Patriots are currently without a first or second-round pick in the NFL draft. The Patriots have never gone through a draft without making at least one selection in the first or second round. Given how much Bill Belichick loves working the draft board, it’s hard to imagine him entering a draft without a pick until the third round (No. 72 overall). So how will Belichick get some draft picks? The easy solution would be trading Jimmy Garoppolo. Look at how many draft picks the Browns have — two first-round picks (Nos. 1 and 12 overall) and then two second-round picks. They also have three second-round picks in 2018 in addition to their own first-rounder, so it’s clear the Browns have the draft picks the Patriots could potentially want. ESPN’s Adam Schefter has continued to defend his report that the Patriots are not trading Garoppolo, but if they are completely blown away by an offer, it’s hard to see the Patriots saying no. With the Patriots not selecting until the third round and the Browns reportedly still being interested in the Patriots’ backup quarterback, expect the trade rumors to continue right up until draft day.

2. A lot has been made of Malcolm Butler’s situation this week. It’s not too difficult to see why he’s at least a little upset with the organization. He’s been in negotiations with the Patriots since last offseason for a new contract, but hasn’t got one. New England went out and signed cornerback Stephon Gilmore to a five-year, $65 million deal with $40 million guaranteed — the largest in Patriots franchise history to a defensive player — this week. With Butler being in the organization for three years and doing everything he’s been asked to do on the field and not causing any issues off the field, he had reason to believe he would eventually get a new contract and be the Patriots’ No. 1 cornerback for a long time. Instead the organization gave the large deal to Gilmore, who wasn’t even in the organization. This doesn’t send the greatest message to the team by not being completely loyal to its players, but it’s worth wondering just how much Butler has been seeking per year. It’s likely been more than $13 million and a major reason why the Patriots signed Gilmore.

3. Butler is in a tough spot because he has no leverage. He’s under contract as a restricted free agent and since the Patriots placed a first-round tender on him, he’s on the books for $3.91 million — a large increase from his $600,000 a year ago. He could not sign the tender and hold out, but that wouldn’t do him any good because he wouldn’t get the year of service time and be in the same situation next offseason. The Patriots signing Gilmore is a sign they don’t view Butler as part of their long-term plans at cornerback because it’s hard to imagine the team spending at least $26 million per year on two cornerbacks. If they were willing to do that, it would have made more sense to extend Butler and re-sign Logan Ryan (who signed a three-year, $30 million deal with the Titans). New England could take the same approach with Butler as it did with Chandler Jones, and trade him this offseason to make sure they get something in return knowing they won’t be able to re-sign him when his contract is up after 2017. It’s already been rumored he could be traded to the Saints even after the Cooks trade. And with the Patriots not having a first or second-round pick, maybe a team would be willing to give up a low first or a second-round pick for the 27-year-old cornerback, and then sign him to a long-term deal.

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Read More: Bill Belichick, Jimmy Garoppolo, Malcolm Butler, Sunday 7
Adam Schefter on K&C: If Patriots traded Jimmy Garoppolo and Tom Brady gets hurt ‘they would be the Cleveland Browns’ 03.10.17 at 7:49 am ET
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Adam Schefter explained why the Patriots shouldn't trade Jimmy Garoppolo. (Mark J. Rebilas/USA Today Sports)

Adam Schefter explained why the Patriots shouldn’t trade Jimmy Garoppolo. (Mark J. Rebilas/USA Today Sports)

ESPN NFL insider Adam Schefter joined Kirk and Callahan Friday morning to discuss the latest with Jimmy Garoppolo and a potential trade, which he said once again will not happen. To hear the interview, visit the K&C audio on demand page.

On Thursday, the Browns added a 2018 second-round pick via trade and many speculated they were stocking more picks to try and make a run at Garoppolo. Schefter said he even got a text from a Patriots source saying, “Does Cleveland know we’re not trading Jimmy Garoppolo?”

“You could ask [Bill Belichick], and I am sure he will speak for himself, but I have spoken to enough people who have given me enough answers like yesterday, someone else texted me and said, ‘Does Cleveland know we’re not trading Jimmy Garoppolo?'” Schefter said. “We’re going back to what we said before. I am basing my answers in what I believe is factual information. I know people want to take it in a different way. I am telling you that’s not right.”

Given how important the quarterback position is, Schefter questioned what were to happen if the Patriots traded Garoppolo and something were to happen to Tom Brady, who is 40 years old.

“If they traded Jimmy Garoppolo and something were to happen to Tom Brady next season, the year after, they would be the Cleveland Browns,” Schefter said. “It would the Cleveland Browns. What would they be doing at quarterback? What was it like for that franchise before Tom Brady came along.”

Schefter once again was very adamant about his report of the Patriots not trading him.

“Why can’t it be that simple, that they have secured the most important position in sports and they are not going to sacrifice that for a first-round draft pick, for two first-round draft picks or whatever compensation is offered,” he said. “Why does it have to be they are trying to drive up the price when they don’t have any intention of trading him?”

Added Schefter: “Again, I am trying to reflect to you what has been reflected to me. OK? And it’s been taken so many different ways that it’s just rather — I don’t know. I feel like I have to defend it.”

Read More: adam schefter, Jimmy Garoppolo,
Jimmy Garoppolo posts Instagram picture with ‘peace out Boston’ caption, but reportedly is hoax at 6:57 am ET
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Life in 2017.

In the early hours of Friday morning (4 a.m.), Jimmy Garopppolo’s Instagram account posted a picture to with the caption: So grateful for my time in New England. Peace out Boston.

With his name being mentioned in a number of trade rumors since the end of the season, it could be seen why some would believe it to be true, but according to multiple reports, the belief is the backup quarterback’s account was hacked/the post was just a hoax.

[UPDATE 9:30 a.m.]: This post has been deleted.

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