INDIANAPOLIS — The Cleveland Browns are open to trading the No. 1 overall pick of the 2017 draft, general manager Sashi Brown said Wednesday at the NFL scouting combine.
It's just one option available to the Browns, who own two picks in each of the draft's first two rounds.
“We're going to responsibly listen to any opportunities that are out there,” Brown said. “I think we have to do that.
"We would have to wait and see what might come and what player might be available there as we get through this process.”
Cleveland has many needs, none bigger than quarterback. Brown said the team will continue “investing” at that position and didn't rule out additional moves even though Robert Griffin III, Cody Kessler and Kevin Hogan are currently on the roster. Brown would not commit to Griffin, who has a $750,000 bonus due March 11, remaining with the team this season.
However Brown declined multiple times to address rumors about New England Patriots backup quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo, who had been linked to the Browns. ESPN reported Wednesday that the Patriots do not plan to trade Garoppolo, who is entering the final year of his rookie contract. It is against NFL rules for officials to discuss players under contract with another team.
“I understand the interest there and the headlines that are out there, but it would be inappropriate for me to comment on that,” Brown said.
He did say the franchise is waiting to see how the free agent market plays out. Veterans like Jay Cutler, Tony Romo, Colin Kaepernick and former Browns starter Brian Hoyer are expected to be available.
But Cleveland has flexibility heading into a draft that features intriguing quarterback prospects, according to Brown. The Browns’ plethora of selections, a bounty partially stockpiled from last year's trade of the No. 2 overall pick to the Philadelphia Eagles, allows Cleveland to get creative. That’s just one reason why Brown doesn’t regret making that deal, even though Cleveland received criticism for passing on the opportunity to add Carson Wentz, who had a solid rookie year for Philadelphia.
“It provides us a lot of flexibility in terms of how we build the roster. It could be patching together to move up to get a player we covet and target. It could be acquiring a player from another roster,” Brown said.
“So it gives you a lot of flexibility as we move forward. Kind of our worst case scenario (is) we have a bevy of young, talented players that we frankly need to build our foundation and move on.”
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