Despite not having played a single meaningful snap during regular-season action, Patriots quarterback Ryan Mallett has emerged as a topic of trade speculation, though the return he could bring to the team is difficult to assess.
For those connecting the dots on a potential Mallett deal, a popular hypothetical landing spot has been the Cleveland Browns, with new VP of player personnel Mike Lombardi heavily influencing decisions.
Lombardi, a former NFL Network analyst, previously shared high praise for Mallett as a draft prospect out of Arkansas, and is a friend of Bill Belichick's (this isn't to suggest that a trade would be a favor from one to friend to another, but that relationships are a part of trade dynamics in professional sports).
But such a trade scenario has never been substantiated, and Mary Kay Cabot of the Cleveland Plain Dealer reports the Browns "aren't expected to pursue" Mallett.
It's unclear if the Patriots are intent on trying to move Mallett this offseason, perhaps in exchange for additional draft capital (they have just five selections as things currently stand). There are numerous NFL teams in need of a quarterback, and despite Mallett's struggles last preseason, clubs may view his skill set as that of a starter.
For now, whether the Patriots are even thinking of trading Mallett or not, it appears we can cross one team off the list of partners with whom to potentially do business.