On October 28, the Cleveland Browns contacted the New England Patriots and urged head coach Bill Belichick and company to consider trading quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo to them, according to a report by the Plain Dealer via Cleveland.com. The Browns, among other teams, were shut down and told Garoppolo wasn't available.

"If you are open to trading him, please call," the Browns told the Patriots.

The Patriots were open to trading the quarterback – just not to Cleveland. Two days later, Garoppolo was headed to the San Francisco 49ers.

"I know that [former Browns vice president Sashi] Brown was willing to part with Houston's first-round pick and other goodies," wrote Terry Pluto.

The first-round selection ended up becoming the fourth-overall pick. The Browns were never considered. Nor was any other interested team save one – the Kyle Shanahan-led 49ers.

What left much of the media baffled was that the Patriots didn't fleece the 49ers for Garoppolo when they probably could have. Instead, they asked only for the team's second-round pick.

When the trade was made, the selection figured to be among the first two in the second round. The irony is that, thanks to the deal, the pick dropped a number of spots after Garoppolo was named the starter and the 49ers won five consecutive games to clsoe out the season.

The late-October trade announcement left the Browns confused as to why the Patriots wouldn't even speak with them.

"And then even more baffled when they checked with other teams trying to deal for Garoppolo and heard the same story," wrote Pluto.

ESPN's Adam Schefter already reported the Browns' genuine interest in acquiring Garoppolo. Pluto's report corresponds with what Schefter has said.

"I'm theorizing here, but that trade fell into [the 49ers'] laps," Schefter said in December. "And it fell into their laps, I believe, in large part because Bill Belichick and the Patriots organization had as much respect and good feeling for John Lynch and Kyle Shanahan as they did because the Cleveland Browns had been calling the Patriots last spring over and over. They tried apparently this fall and never got to first base with them."

Of course, there's no way of knowing which other teams showed interest in Garoppolo and were shut down or which conference they belong to. The 49ers are out of conference and led by a head coach whom Belichick respected.

Over the weekend, Browns tackle Joe Thomas offered his opinion on why Cleveland was never considered as a trade partner, including the Patriots not wanting to face Garoppolo for the next 10 years.

Whether the trade of Garoppolo was the result of a mandate by owner Robert Kraft or not, it seems Belichick was willing to talk to the 49ers because he had respect for those in charge in San Francisco. He was even willing to take significantly less to send Garoppolo somewhere he could flourish, but not do so often in games against New England.