Trade Proposal Nets Browns $134 Million QB as Brissett Insurance

Jacoby Brissett, Browns

Getty Quarterback Jacoby Brissett #7 of the Cleveland Browns looks to pass during the first half of their NFL game against the Carolina Panthers at Bank of America Stadium on September 11, 2022 in Charlotte, North Carolina. (Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images)

Zeroing in on the Cleveland Browns‘ identity before the return of Deshaun Watson is liable to prove akin to chucking darts at a moving target. But after one game, the situation under center, at least, is fairly clear — Jacoby Brissett is who we always thought he was.

Brissett is a competent game manager with a losing record as an NFL starter (15-23) who consciously avoids the big mistake as successfully as he unintentionally avoids the big play.

The Browns’ backup produced a pedestrian 18 for 34 performance in Sunday’s late win over the Carolina Panthers, throwing for 147 yards and one touchdown while earning a quarterback rating of 74.0.

Brissett did not turn the ball over and was able to lead Cleveland on a six-play, 35-yard drive that took one minute and five seconds off the clock, setting up rookie kicker Cade York to nail a 58-yard field goal and secure the victory.

All that is … fine. And the Browns’ decision makers feel the same, more or less, per Zac Jackson of The Athletic.

Brissett is the Browns’ quarterback. There’s zero internal consideration of going to Joshua Dobbs or trying to find another quarterback. The Browns know Brissett’s limitations, but they trust that his smarts, demeanor and experience can keep the offense upright.

The pass game really isn’t going to scare anyone … but the truth is you’re going to get backup centers playing as extra tight ends, screen passes and the hope that Brissett can avoid sacks and huge mistakes the way he did last week.

And all that is just fine, too — until the Browns start losing.

If that happens — which is a real possibility after Week 4 against the Atlanta Falcons, when the schedule toughens up significantly — the attitude in Cleveland’s front office could change in a flash. That is also to say nothing of the ever-present possibility of an injury, either to Brissett or behind him on the depth chart.

Because of these possibilities, the Browns must seriously consider getting back in the mix for a quarterback to whom they were linked for weeks leading up to the start of the regular season — San Francisco 49ers‘ backup Jimmy Garoppolo.

Garoppolo More Reasonable Trade Candidate For Browns After New Contract

Jimmy Garoppolo Brian Griese

GettyQB Jimmy Garoppolo of the San Francisco 49ers. (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)

The Browns took a hard look at Garoppolo in August, per Mary Kay Cabot of However, the team chose not to move on the long-time starter at that point, at least in part because of how steep his contract was.

Garoppolo was set to cost a team nearly $27 million against the salary cap in 2022, playing the fifth and final season of a five-year deal worth approximately $137 million in total. But that all changed at the end of August when he agreed to a one-year contract for $7 million to stay with the Niners. While Garoppolo’s relationships with the team and its new starter Trey Lance clearly remain strong, his presence in the San Francisco locker room continues to confound.

Garoppolo has started two NFC Championship Games and a Super Bowl with the Niners, while amassing an NFL earnings total of approximately $134 million, including this season. It seems almost impossible to believe that the QB, who turns 31 years old in November, considers himself a backup after the level of professional success he’s attained. Furthermore, Garoppolo is unlikely to get a chance to prove he’s worthy of another sizable contract if he’s stuck behind Lance in the NFC West all season.

Lance, meanwhile, is a second-year player who suffered an abysmal performance Sunday in a loss to the Chicago Bears. Continued difficulties for Lance are likely considering his level of experience, and the more he struggles, the more he’ll have to look over his shoulder as fans and locker room loyalists still beholden to Garoppolo begin to push for a change under center.

With a cap hit that’s now $20 million less than it was just a few weeks ago, the Niners can much more easily negotiate a trade involving Garoppolo for real value in return. The Browns, on the other hand, can solidify the QB position — either in front of Brissett or behind him — by making a deal for Garoppolo. They also hold a trade chip that San Francisco is liable to find interesting.

Browns’ RB D’Ernest Johnson Could Help Get Garoppolo Deal Done

D'Ernest Johnson

Getty ImagesRunning back D’Ernest Johnson of the Cleveland Browns.

When asked Monday about the team’s willingness to deal Garoppolo, as the Niners openly attempted to do for months during the offseason, head coach Kyle Shanahan fell far short of slamming the door shut.

“Just like all players, we’ll listen to anybody on anything,” Shanahan said. “That never changes for any player or coach. We’ll always listen to anybody.”

The question was asked in the context of the Dallas Cowboys, who just lost quarterback Dak Prescott for several weeks to a thumb surgery. However, all things being equal, the Niners might get a better deal from the Browns.

The 49ers lost starting running back Elijah Mitchell in Week 1 to a knee injury. While Mitchell will be out for the next two months, San Francisco will be forced to lean on a stable of mediocre backups in an offense heavily dependent on a quality run game.

The Browns, meanwhile, have more talent in their offensive backfield than they know what to do with. Case in point, breakout running back D’Ernest Johnson, who exploded onto the national scene in 2021, was a healthy scratch Sunday in Carolina in favor of Nick Chubb, Kareem Hunt and rookie Jerome Ford.

Johnson amassed 534 rushing yards and three touchdowns on 100 carries last season, per Pro Football Reference, to go along with 137 receiving yards on 19 catches.

Clearly, the Niners aren’t going to swap Garoppolo, who started in the NFC Championship Game less than eight months ago, straight up for a backup running back. However, Johnson would be a player of real interest to the Niners, and his services a logical place for negotiations between the two teams to begin.

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John Kozr
John Kozr
16 days ago

The fact Garrapolo is even mentioned is beyond a joke. Brisket will take the Browns further than Jimmy G could dream of; and don’t mention Jimmy G. took 49ers to NFC Championship and a SB, the team around JG took him there. The guy sucks; if he could read a D and throw a half decent deep ball, 48ers would have at least one SB win in the last 3 years. Heck, they likely would have had one with Brissett rather than Carapolo under center.

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