New England Patriots quarterback Ryan Mallett is one of the biggest name on the backup quarterback market, which is a market that is receiving plenty of interest as guys like Chase Daniel are making some rounds. Teams with an unsettled starting quarterback position looking for a backup to push the starter in training camp will view Mallett as an especially attractive option. Jeff Howe of the Boston Herald reported that the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Cleveland Browns are interested in acquiring Mallett from the New England Patriots, but Howe also notes that the source told him a deal is “unlikely”.
At first, reports from the Cleveland Plain Dealer indicated that the Browns would likely stay out of the Mallett sweepstakes. However, last week a source told Mary Kay Cabot of the Plain Dealer that the Browns are indeed interested. This confused some people, but the report that the Browns are interested seemed to make more sense (the reports that they weren’t didn’t seem to be based on any sources). Howe’s report that the Browns are interested is confirmation that Michael Lombardi is going to go after Mallett, and Mike Reiss of ESPN Boston stated earlier this week that the Browns are the only team he can see acquiring Mallett.
It sounds like the Buccaneers want in, and both of these teams are interested in other backup QBs like Daniel, David Carr, and a former Patriots backup in Brian Hoyer. Mallett is clearly the best option of the three, but he will also clearly be the most expensive of the three; that’s why a deal likely won’t happen.
The Patriots invested plenty of time after picking Mallett in the third round of the draft, and Mallett really should have been at least a second-round pick. Therefore, the Pats aren’t going to trade Mallett for anything less than a second-rounder. Unfortunately for the Browns, they don’t have a second-round pick this year after adding Josh Gordon in the supplemental draft. They could package together mid-round picks or use their second-round choice next year, but they might deem the price too high. I am almost betting that the Bucs will balk at the asking price of a second-rounder, because they would rather use that on talent on defense.
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