There could be more Jimmy Garoppolo rumors between now and the draft. (Mark J. Rebilas/USA Today Sports)
FOXBORO — The biggest storylines with the Patriots as the NFL draft approaches are not who will they take, but rather what will happen to Jimmy Garoppolo and Malcolm Butler.
Garoppolo is a highly-sought after quarterback, but it appears the Patriots want to hold on to him. Still, offers could come in leading up to and on draft day as teams are desperate for good quarterbacks.
Butler remains a restricted free agent who hasn’t signed his tender. The deadline for teams to place an offer sheet on players is Friday, so with that appearing unlikely to happen for Butler, it seems he has no choice but to sign his tender.
Once he does that, the Patriots can discuss trades with other teams. This could heat up around the draft, as teams could want Butler over taking a chance on a rookie cornerback.
Speaking at his pre-draft press conference at Gillette Stadium Tuesday, Patriots director of player personnel Nick Caserio was asked if Garoppolo strictly isn’t for sale.
“Anything that we do, we’re always going to do what we think is in the best interest of our football team, and that’s how we approach it,” Caserio said. “That’s not going to change. Whatever you think is best for our team for 2017, for that season, then that’s what we’ll do. However that manifests itself, not exactly sure, but that’s where the focus is, is trying to put together the best team possible for the 2017 season. However that comes about, then we’ll take it as it comes.”
Caserio was also asked about Butler, and if the Saints (who Butler visited) proposed a trade, how would the Patriots approach it?
“Our focus and goal is to put together the best team possible,” Caserio said. “However we’re going to improve our team, whatever players we think are going to help our team for the 2017 season, then that’s what we’re going to do.”
The Patriots also do not have a selection until the third round, No. 72 overall in the draft. So are they in a position to try and move up? It doesn’t appear that way.
“I don’t anticipate that many transactions here between now and next Thursday or Friday,” Caserio said. “Could that change? Look, it’s the National Football League. Things can change in a heartbeat. Our focus is on getting ready for the draft and putting together the best team possible.”