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Patriots reportedly want their lost Deflategate draft picks back in a Jimmy Garoppolo trade

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It’s quite a strategy.

NFL: New York Jets at New England Patriots Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports

There will be plenty of interest from teams who want to acquire quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo from the New England Patriots this offseason. The Patriots will look to make the most of it and, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, would consider a deal to move Garoppolo in exchange for a minimum of two draft picks — a first-round pick and a fourth-round pick.

Those just happen to be the 2016 draft picks New England had to forfeit as part of the punishment the team faced from the NFL for the Deflategate scandal.

Garoppolo started the first two games of the 2016 season for the Patriots while Tom Brady was serving a four-game suspension for his role in Deflategate. Garoppolo played well, completing 69.4 percent of his passes for 502 yards, four touchdowns, and no interceptions.

His time to shine with the Patriots was cut short by injury. Against the Miami Dolphins in Week 2, Garoppolo went down with a shoulder injury that kept him on the sideline for the remainder of Brady’s suspension.

The Patriots were accused of deflating footballs to a level lower than NFL rules require, which presumably gave New England a competitive advantage. A lengthy investigation ensued.

In response, the NFL issued a four-game suspension to Brady for not cooperating fully with the investigation. The league also penalized the Patriots by taking first- and fourth-round picks in the 2016 NFL draft, and fined the team a whopping $1 million, which was the largest fine in league history.

There are teams that will have interest in acquiring Garoppolo based on how well he played over those two games. This hasn’t always panned out in the past — ask the Kansas City Chiefs about Matt Cassel, or the Houston Texans about Ryan Mallett — but the market will be there for Garoppolo nonetheless, and it’s very Patriots to work that situation to the team’s advantage and try to get those Deflategate picks back.

Angry Bill Belichick changes his mind