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Report: Ryan Mallett trade remains on Browns' radar

Although new Cleveland Browns general manager Michael Lombardi is a known admirer of Ryan Mallett, the Plain-Dealer reported last month that the team is not expected to pursue a trade for the New England Patriots' backup quarterback.

Now that Alex Smith, Matt Moore and Brian Hoyer are off the market, the tune may be changing. An NFL source tells The Plain Dealer he expects the Browns to try to strike up a deal for Mallett, even though another source believes Patriots head coach Bill Belichick will be reluctant to part with him.

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As far as reports go, it's on the weak side. There's no indication from any source directly connected with the Browns that they plan to pursue Mallett.

As tight as Lombardi and Belichick have been since the early 1990s, however, there's a good chance the two men already have touched base about Mallett's availability.

It's interesting to note that the Boston Globe's Shalise Manza-Young told "NFL AM" Friday that she still expects Mallett to be traded before the start of the 2013 season.

Now that Tom Brady is entrenched as the Patriots' quarterback through the 2017 season, it makes perfect sense that Belichick would cash in on Mallett for a second- or third-round draft pick if he can land a quality backup such as Matt Cassel.

Follow Chris Wesseling on Twitter @ChrisWesseling.

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