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Patriots Blog

Patriots have successfully laundered compensation from the Garoppolo trade



Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Patriots Director of Player Personnel Nick Caserio on Day 2 of the NFL Draft shortly after the Pats executed a series of moves that made the Jimmy Garoppolo trade untraceable. 

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. — A forensic investigation of the 2018 NFL Draft has revealed that the New England Patriots successfully laundered the compensation they received in the Jimmy Garoppolo trade, rendering all evidence of the transaction untraceable.

Heading into the draft, the Patriots held the 11th pick of the second round (No. 43 overall), the lone selection they had received when they traded Garoppolo to San Francisco at the 2017 trade deadline. But the heat was on, and head coach Bill Belichick knew it. Using that pick on any one player would’ve exposed the comically low compensation they received for a quarterback who had played six meaningful NFL quarters and was under team control for an additional eight games.
 
Certainly, a player who had performed well in a stacked offense with superb coaching for less than a game and a half prior to injuring his throwing shoulder should’ve commanded an abundance of draft picks. After all, the Niners were going to have Garoppolo for an entire half season before having to make him the highest-paid player in NFL history. And throwing a ton of money at a young quarterback coming off a brief flash of success always works out. (And when it doesn’t, you just send a second-round pick to Cleveland, and the Browns eat your salary cap problem.)


So, knowing full well that the 43rd overall selection was dirty money, the Patriots contacted a former associate in Detroit whom investigators believe to be a well-known fence. That man, Matthew Patricia, has deep ties to the Patriots organization. Patricia, who was on New England’s payroll from 2004 until just this February, took the 43rd pick off Belichick’s hands and sent back the 51st and 117th selections in the 2018 draft.
 
At this point, investigators tracking the compensation had a new mission. Instead of indicting Belichick for the acquisition of one player who would forever be an insufficient return for a man who was never going to be New England’s No. 1 quarterback, they would now have to hold Belichick accountable for two unsatisfactory players. This would hardly have been a difficult task, so New England found a useful idiot to further its deception — the Chicago Bears.
 
Investigators do not believe the Bears were willing conspirators in the pick-laundering scheme. After all, it was the Bears who traded up for San Francisco’s No. 2 pick for Mitch Trubisky in the 2017 draft, even though they held the No. 3 pick and the Niners had zero interest in Trubisky. If there ever was a perfect mark, it was the Chicago Bears.
 
So, the Patriots sent pick No. 51 to Chicago for a second-round pick in the 2019 draft and the 105th pick in 2018. This stretched the Garoppolo compensation out over multiple years and rounds.
 
But New England wasn’t done.
 
In a dizzying move, the Pats packaged non-Garoppolo compensation (pick No. 63) with Garoppolo compensation (No. 117) to trade up to No. 56 and select defensive back Duke Dawson from Florida. Does this make Dawson the insufficient return on the Garoppolo trade? How could one tell?
 
The Patriots then took the 105th pick they received from the Bears and sent it to the Browns for 114 and 178. Before you knew it, there was Patricia, their old crony, dealing them a 2019 third-round for pick No. 114.
 
The trail had gone cold. The only thing observers could say for sure was that the Patriots had obscured the crime of receiving too little compensation through the crime of acquiring too much compensation.
 
Dave Brown is a freelance correspondent who covers the Patriots for the Monitor. You can follow him on Twitter @ThatDaveBrown.