The Cleveland Browns have been adamant that they aren’t interested in surrendering any more draft capital to trade for yet another quarterback. Picking up a former Super Bowl starter for pennies on the dollar, however, is another story.
The San Francisco 49ers tipped their hand on Jimmy Garoppolo early this preseason, making it known that Trey Lance would be the guy in the Bay Area moving forward. That, coupled with Garoppolo’s shoulder surgery over the break, has emboldened teams that could use another quality QB — like the Browns and the Seattle Seahawks — to stare down the Niners front office as final roster cuts approach on August 30.
San Francisco can keep Garoppolo on the roster and incur a nearly $27 million cap hit for a backup QB, but financially that’s a borderline disaster, not to mention the uncertainty it breeds for Lance if he struggles and starts looking over his shoulder. Thus, the Niners face a decision between cutting Garoppolo and saving that money, or assuming the financial risk of keeping him in-house and waiting for a trade market to develop by way of injuries or poor performances in other quarterback rooms.
NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport laid out the situation on Friday, August 26.
“Jimmy Garappolo with the San Francisco 49ers, obviously he is not their future quarterback,” Rapoport said. “Are the 49ers going to be able to trade him and his $20-plus million salary? My understanding is a trade partner as of right now, absent some quarterback injury, does not exist.”
“So the 49ers’ options — and they’ve made this very clear, including recently in the comments of general manager John Lynch last night — the options are either cut [Garoppolo] or somehow, some way keep him on the roster,” Rapoport added.
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Browns’ QB Room on Shaky Ground With Deshaun Watson Out
Should the Niners decide to cut Garoppolo, it could be the Browns that end up the beneficiaries.
Cleveland’s $230 million starter Deshaun Watson will miss the first 11 games of the season. Backup Jacoby Brissett has proven himself a competent, albeit sub-.500, NFL starter. Former Pittsburgh Steelers signal caller Josh Dobbs has assumed the role of third-string QB, and will be the alternative should Brissett need to be replaced for any reason.
With an available Watson, the Browns have a more than solid quarterback room. Without him, however, their season is unquestionably in jeopardy before it even begins.
Browns Have Interest in Jimmy Garoppolo Should Niners Cut Him
Mary Kay Cabot of Cleveland.com reported on Sunday, August 21, that the Browns would not rule out taking a run at Garoppolo if they could scoop him off the scrap heap, instead of trading an asset for him and picking up the last year his hefty contract.
Part of the problem with Garoppolo is that he’s coming off surgery on his right throwing shoulder and only recently began throwing without restrictions. He’d also cost draft capital right now and has a non-guaranteed base salary of $24.2 million.
But if he gets cut and the Browns could get him on the cheap, they wouldn’t rule it out. They want two good starters on the roster, and he certainly fits the bill.