Browns Linked to Trade for New QB Amid Deshaun Watson Uncertainty

Deshaun Watson

Getty Images Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson.

The Cleveland Browns have and could still look into the possibility of trading for displaced San Francisco 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo, per a new report.

The popped up as a possible destination for Garoppolo amid the uncertainty surrounding the looming suspension of Deshaun Watson, who the Browns brought in this offseason to replace Baker Mayfield. The latest tidbit linking the Browns to Garoppolo comes from Doug Kyed of Pro Football Focus, who says Cleveland has at least explored the idea of bringing in the former Super Bowl winner.

“The Browns discussed Jimmy Garoppolo and did their homework on the 49ers QB earlier in the offseason, per source,” Kyed tweeted on July 20. “Revisiting those conversations would depend on length of Deshaun Watson’s suspension, asking price, Garoppolo’s recovery, etc.”

The trade talks surrounding Garoppolo heated up on Wednesday, with his agent being granted permission to seek a trade. The 30-year-old is entering the final year of his contract and will count $26.95 million against the 2022 salary cap — which the Browns could afford if they chose to, thanks to their NFL-high $48.45 million in remaining cap room.

That being said, there are concerns with Garoppolo, who started 15 games last season but didn’t look as sharp as in years past. He tossed 20 touchdowns to 12 interceptions and had a tough go in the postseason, tossing just two touchdowns and three interceptions in three games. Garoppolo is also coming off surgery on his throwing shoulder, which could present a red flag for teams looking at making a move.


Browns Interest in Garoppolo Has Been Disputed

Brad Stainbrook of the Orange and Browns Report expanded a bit on the Browns’ interest in a series of tweets, dubbing it “not serious” and providing an additional timeline.

“Those discussions first took place before the team traded for Deshaun Watson, and haven’t discussed Garoppolo ‘in a while,’ per a league source,” Stainbrook tweeted. “When Garoppolo conversations have taken place, they have been considered “general conversations” and nothing serious at this point. There is a belief by some in Cleveland that Garoppolo could end up being released”

Much of the Browns’ interest in landing Garoppolo would depend on the suspension of Watson. If he’s out just 4-6 games, it wouldn’t make much sense to add Garoppolo, with veteran Jacoby Brissett capable of picking up those starts. If it’s more, it could open the door for a conversation, although Browns insider Mary Kay Cabot of Cleveland.com doesn’t believe he’s on Cleveland’s radar.

“The Browns still aren’t expected to try to acquire him as the replacement for Deshaun Watson for however many games he’s out this season,” she wrote on July 20. “For starters, Watson’s camp remains optimistic he’ll see the field this year, possibly for the final eight or nine games. In that scenario, the Browns are comfortable with Jacoby Brissett holding down the fort, especially with a relatively soft first four games. They believe Brissett will fare better than some expect, especially with the supporting cast he’ll have this season.”


Browns ‘Bracing’ for 8-Game Suspension for Watson


Full-year suspension for Deshaun Watson seems unlikely | Pro Football Talk | NBC SportsMike Florio believes Deshaun Watson and the NFLPA will not have to challenge a full-year suspension because it will not be recommended by Judge Sue L. Robinson. #NBCSports #ProFootballTalk #DeshaunWatson » Subscribe to NBC Sports: youtube.com/nbcsports?sub_confirmation=1 » Watch Pro Football Talk live on Peacock weekdays 7a-9a: bit.ly/2JpZZpo » Get the latest from Pro Football Talk:…2022-07-19T18:21:15Z

While reports have started to surface about a potential suspension for Watson, there still remains a large amount of uncertainty around what the final verdict. The NFL was pushing for a full season, with a chance for reinstatement at the end of the year, per The Washington Post.

It’s been reported that Watson’s reps are optimistic he’ll see the field this season and Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk spoke to a source who says the “Browns privately are bracing for an eight-game suspension of Watson.”

Even if Watson is out eight games, there’s a strong sentiment that the Browns would pursue a veteran backup to sit behind Brissett.

Behind Brissett on the depth chart currently is Joshua Dobbs, who has gone through OTAs and minicamp with the Browns this offseason. He has completed just 10-of-17 career pass attempts for 45 yards and one interception. At this point in the offseason, options are limited, with Cam Newton and Josh Rosen being mentioned as possible targets.

 

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