The Cleveland Browns drafted Brandon Weeden out of Oklahoma State with one of their first-round picks in the 2012 NFL Draft, but Weeden will be turning 30-years-old during his second season in the league and the team’s front office has been noncommittal about his future with the team. This has caused trade rumors to circulate surrounding New England Patriots back up quarterback Ryan Mallett.
As hard as we try to ignore the rumors, because nothing seems imminent at this point in the offseason, they just won’t go away.
A big reason for the Mallett to Browns rumor is the connection between Patriots head coach Bill Belichick and Browns new general manager Mike Lombardi. The have a great friendship and could use their relationship to work out a good deal for both sides.
Lombardi was not shy about his love for Mallett during his time as a NFL Network analyst even going as far to rank Mallett ahead of Cam Newton and Colin Kaepernick in the draft class.
According to ESPN Dallas, Lombardi’s love for Mallett and Belichick’s love for defensive linemen could lead to a deal.
But by signing Bryant in free agency, the Browns created a surplus of big, young defensive linemen. Bryant joins Phil Taylor, Ahtyba Rubin, Billy Winn, John Hughes and Ishmaa’ly Kitchen as interior linemen on a team planning to field a 3-4 defense.
Belichick, reportedly, was interested in pursuing Bryant, but the Browns beat him to the punch. Still, the need is there for a defensive tackle to line up next to Vince Wilfork in Belichick’s 4-3 scheme. Belichick loves defensive linemen.
Lombardi’s friendly relationship with Belichick is also legendary. I can see the two men discussing Taylor or Rubin in a possible package deal for Mallett. Rubin is older and more expensive after receiving a $26 million, four-year contract extension last year from the old Browns regime. Banner has probably run a complete computer analytics program on Rubin and determined he is grossly overpaid.
As far as we know, the two sides are not currently talking, but that could all change in time. There is no immediate resolution to the rumors, but it is certainly something worth watching.
If Lombardi is not sold on Weeden and he is still very high on Mallett as a prospect, he could make a serious push to land the Patriots back up as we draw closer to the 2013 draft.