There are multiple reports that the New England Patriots have talked with the Cleveland Browns about possibly trading up to the No. 6 overall pick. Given that these reports are coming out on Draft Day, it’s entirely possible that either the Patriots or Browns themselves are spreading the rumors (more likely the Browns, as they have a lot more to gain from the whispers).
Reporting rumors like these on Draft Day is almost fruitless given the plethora of false information out there and the fact that – HELLO – all this hoopla will be settled by the end of the night.
But in the Patriots’ case, it’s interesting because of Robert Kraft’s role in the labor negotiations. The Patriots historically have avoided picks in the early part of the first round because they disdain the financial burden that comes with signing those players. But a rookie wage scale figures to be part of the next CBA, which would make early first-rounders more affordable.
Kraft is as dialed in as anyone on the labor situation. If his team is trading up the first round, that would be a strong indication that he truly believes a new CBA can be hammered out sometime this year. If the Patriots continue to avoid early first-round picks, perhaps that’s an indication that Kraft believes a CBA isn’t on the way until next year.
Given the drama that’s unfolded this week, it seems unimaginable that a new CBA will be reached anytime in 2011. But that’s just the momentum of the drama speaking. At some point, the owners will catch their breath and realize that in order to preserve their league, they’ll have to bargain with the NFLPA.
UPDATE 4:17 p.m. EST: ESPN's Chris Mortensen says the Patriots are looking to trade up to the Cowboys' spot at No. 9 and draft Cal's Cam Jordan.
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