Ryan Mallett trade rumors: Patriots QB likely staying put for now

Jamie McDonald

The Browns and Buccaneers have reportedly expressed interest in the young backup, but the CBA makes it hard to envision a trade going through.

The New England Patriots know the value of a good quarterback. Despite the fact that they've known Tom Brady was the franchise signal-caller for quite some time, that hasn't stopped the Patriots from drafting six quarterbacks since 2000. Even if you've got your guy, that doesn't mean that another team won't want your other guy.

More: Complete NFL free agency coverage

For that reason, there has been continued speculation that somebody will trade for backup Ryan Mallett. A third-round pick in 2011, Mallett was once considered one of the best prospects in the nation, but he bounced from Michigan to Arkansas after the retirement of Lloyd Carr and saw his NFL prospects lose a little bit of their luster. Mallett fell out of the first round and New England saw his value too good to be true in the third, with most speculating that it was likely another chance for the Pats to flip a quarterback into good value to another team -- not unlike giving the franchise tag to Matt Cassel and trading him to the Chiefs for a second-round pick a few years prior.

For more on the Patriots, check out Pats Pulpit

However, the new CBA has caused some difficulty in that process. Reports are surfacing that the Browns and Buccaneers are interested in the New England backup, but if either of those teams trade for Mallet they won't be allowed to re-negotiate with him until after 2013. That means that instead of trading for him and locking him up for four or more years, they really will not have him signed long term at the time of the deal. That could make it harder for the Patriots to find good value in return for their backup quarterback, especially since he still is the insurance to Brady.

Of course, if the Patriots do decide to trade Mallet, it won't mean they can't find a different young player to backup Brady. We already know they aren't shy about drafting one.

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