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Patriots rebuff Browns' Jimmy Garoppolo inquiry

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Browns executive VP of football operations Sashi Brown acknowledged last week that a draft-weekend trade for Jimmy Garoppolo was an extreme long shot.

That didn't stop Cleveland from following through on the determination to make one last run at New England's highly regarded backup quarterback.

The Browns inquired about Garoppolo and were promptly rebuffed again on Thursday night, NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport reported, via a source close to the situation. The Patriots did not even consider the idea of dealing their premium Tom Brady insurance, Rapoport added.

After months of skepticism regarding Bill Belichick's true intentions, we can finally put the Garoppolo trade speculation to bed.

While it's true that Garoppolo's trade value will likely never be higher than it has been for the past two months, Belichick has placed a greater value on peace of mind at professional sports' most important position than stockpiling draft picks.

As one team source recently explained to the Boston Herald, the Patriots understand how hard it is to draft and develop one legitimate quarterback, let alone losing Garoppolo and trying in vain to find success a second time.

"From my understanding, the Patriots do not want to deal Jimmy Garoppolo," Rapoport reported earlier this month. "They really just don't, whether it's to the Browns, whether it's to the Texans. Their stance right now ... is they do not want to give up someone who they consider a franchise quarterback for a pick this year."

With the luxury of Brady under center, Belichick has constructed the league's strongest roster. What he craves most is another Lombardi Trophy or two to cement his legacy. Why decrease the odds of a return trip to the Super Bowl by trading the one quarterback capable of keeping the offense afloat should Brady suffer a major injury or finally start losing ground in his lopsided battle with Father Time?

Armed with the leverage of the franchise tag in an era of the steadily expanding salary cap, the Patriots are content to delay any decisions on Garoppolo's future until next offseason. In the meantime, Belichick will sleep well, caressing the undeniable notion that championship banners fly forever.

The Browns will have to knock on someone else's door in their persistent efforts to land a viable quarterback solution of their own.

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