The Cleveland Browns expect to know soon how long Deshaun Watson will be absent from the lineup, which means the Dawg Pound should soon expect to see their franchise address the quarterback position accordingly.
That doesn’t mean that Cleveland will necessarily bring in another signal caller, after adding Jacoby Brissett, Josh Dobbs and Josh Rosen to the roster behind Watson already this offseason — but it very well could.
If Watson is set to miss the majority of the 2022 regular season following the NFL’s appeal to his already six-game suspension, San Francisco 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo becomes the best available option to replace him as a bonafide NFL starter.
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Garoppolo Keeps Browns Super Bowl-Relevant While Watson Out
Matt Lombardo of Heavy.com on Monday, August 8, listed the deal as first among the “three trades that should happen,” per his exclusive conversations with NFL coaches and executives.
Following an offseason’s worth of veteran quarterback movement, there may not be a better match remaining for 49ers QB Jimmy Garoppolo than the Browns.
For all of Garoppolo’s shortcomings, he’s still a 67% passer who owns a 71-38 touchdown-to-interception ratio and 33-14 career record as a starter with a Super Bowl appearance on his resumé.
If nothing else, Garoppolo’s presence would steady the ship in the crucible of the AFC North until Watson’s eventual return, and at this point could likely be had for a relative song.
Browns Likely to Get Better Deal for Garoppolo Sooner Than Later
An NFC personnel executive quoted by Lombardo made the point that the quicker the Browns trade for Garoppolo, the lower the price is likely to be.
“The Niners could probably get at least a third-round pick from a team like the Browns, but the longer they hold [Garoppolo], the price could go way up,” the exec explained. “Imagine if a team loses their starter between now and Week 1. What would the [Los Angeles] Rams trade the Niners if Matthew Stafford goes down? It has to be much higher. The longer San Francisco holds him, the better they’ll do, in any trade.”
Unfortunately for Cleveland, the Niners are well aware of the same set of facts. NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport reported Sunday that San Francisco is prepared to hold onto Garoppolo until the last possible moment to maximize his value.
The 49ers have been very clear about saying that they plan to trade him. Obviously, not going to be with the team this coming season. …
From my understanding, [the Niners are] willing to wait all the way to cutdown day. And in fact, it wouldn’t make a lot of sense for the 49ers to move on from Jimmy Garoppolo now because what if another quarterback gets hurt, or what if there is some sort of need?
It sounds like they’re going to hold onto him as long as possible just to see if any trade market develops before eventually, and likely, moving on from him.
Cleveland did hold the final year of another bonafide NFL starter’s contract this offseason, but they traded it away when they sent Baker Mayfield to the Carolina Panthers, who the Browns will open the season against in Week 1.