This has been one crazy off-season for Browns fans, and as the 2022 regular season approaches, the big question in the organization is who will take the helm under center. As we approach the pre-season, is there a possibility that Jimmy Garoppolo is traded and could become that starting quarterback for the Cleveland Browns this upcoming football season?
Browns Trade for Deshaun Watson
Earlier this off-season, the Browns made a blockbuster move when they traded for former Houston Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson in hopes of taking the next leap at competing for a Super Bowl. Although Watson’s on-field performance would solve the Browns’ issues at quarterback, his off-the-field problems still loom at large with various sexual misconduct allegations pinned against him, leaving his status of playing for the Browns this upcoming season in question.
Now, Watson is facing a six-game suspension handed down by Sue Robinson. Robinson is an independent disciplinary arbitrator who was put in charge of the disciplinary hearings for this investigation. The decision by Robinson is not final as the NFL decided to appeal the six games with a desire to increase the punishment on Watson substantially.
Is Jacoby Brissett The Answer?
If the star quarterback for the Browns is going to miss a significant portion of the upcoming season or possibly a whole season or more, who is the next man up in Cleveland? The answer, for now, is former Indianapolis and Miami quarterback Jacoby Brissett who the Browns brought in to back up Watson, but can Brissett get the job done with the implication that Watson misses more than the presumed six games? I would have to go with no. Brissett is 14-23 overall as a starting quarterback in the NFL with a 60.2 percent completion rate and 7,742 yards with 36 touchdowns and 17 interceptions thrown.
Although this Browns roster is stacked with talent on both sides of the ball, average quarterback play is needed from Brissett for this roster to compete in most of their games this season. Suppose the Browns want to truly contend for a playoff spot in a gritty AFC conference. In that case, Brissett may not be the answer long-term, and looking out west to San Francisco at a possible trade for Jimmy Garoppolo could be a legitimate scenario this upcoming season.
Trading for Jimmy Garoppolo
If a trade were to happen, there would be some business decisions to work out between the two organizations to make this a reality. First off, the 49ers are looking to regain draft capital in a trade for Garoppolo, and the Browns have very little capital to deal with after their blockbuster trade with the Texans that sent off three first-round picks in 2022, 2023, and 2024, along with a 2023 third-rounder and two fourth-round picks in 2022 and 2024.
A significant factor to note is that San Francisco wants to move on from Garoppolo, believing that Trey Lance is ready to take over the 49ers’ offense. Getting rid of that 24 million dollar cap hit this season would be tremendous for them. Paying that amount of money for a quarterback that likely won’t see the field hinders cap space.
The 30-year-old veteran is coming off a fairly decent season with the 49ers in 2021, resulting in an NFC Championship defeat. He accounted for 3,810 passing yards with 20 touchdowns and 12 interceptions in 15 games. Although the thought of Garoppolo suiting up in the brown and orange isn’t ideal for Cleveland, he brings playoff experience, has not had a long-term injury history, and has a reasonably solid track record as a quarterback in the NFL.
Does Jimmy Garoppolo Fit In With Cleveland?
Garoppolo being traded to the AFC North could be the best scenario for both organizations, with the 49ers dealing him out of the NFC and the Browns getting a solid quarterback that could bring them back to the playoffs with Watson out. Another thing to note is that Cleveland is an attractive landing spot for the 49ers’ quarterback with the level of talent on the roster that includes wide receiver Amari Cooper, running back Nick Chubb, and defensive end Myles Garrett, to name a few.
Going back several years, Garoppolo and Brissett were teammates together in New England under Tom Brady. The idea that these two former teammates could be competing for the starting gig in Cleveland is crazy to think about.
Garoppolo is the better option between the two, but he carries that hefty salary along with him, and it’s unsure what the 49ers want for him. The time to move the veteran quarterback is dwindling as we gear towards a new NFL season, but if there’s any hope for San Francisco to deal with Garoppolo, the Browns are probably one of their best chances at getting that done.
It’s been tricky for the Browns organization to figure out what they really want to do going forward at the quarterback position. Watson will likely face a substantial suspension, leaving the Browns with the options to either stick it out with Brissett at a lower price or go out and get Jimmy Garoppolo, who could bring more promise this upcoming season.
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