The Cleveland Browns have and could be exploring an option to trade for evicted San Francisco 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo, according to a new report.
That emerged as a possible target for Garoppolo amid uncertainty surrounding the impending suspension of Deshaun Watson, who the Browns brought in to replace Baker Mayfield this offseason. The latest tidbit linking the Browns to Garoppolo comes from Pro Football Focus’ Doug Kyed, who says Cleveland has at least explored the idea of bringing in the former Super Bowl winner.
“The Browns talked about Jimmy Garoppolo and did their homework in the 49ers’ QB earlier in the offseason, according to the source.” Kyed tweeted on July 20. “Revisiting these talks would depend on the length of Deshaun Watson’s suspension, the asking price, Garoppolo’s recovery, etc.”
Trade talks around Garoppolo heated up on Wednesday when his agent got permission to seek a deal. The 30-year-old is entering the final year of his contract and will count $26.95 million toward the 2022 salary cap — which the Browns have thanks to their NFL-high $48.45 million in remaining cap room could afford if they so wished.
However, there are concerns about Garoppolo, who started in 15 games last season but didn’t look as good as in previous years. He threw 20 touchdowns to 12 interceptions and had a tough time in the postseason, throwing just two touchdowns and three interceptions in three games. Garoppolo will also have surgery on his throwing shoulder, which could present a red flag for teams looking to make a move.
Orange and Browns Report’s Brad Stainbrook expanded on the Browns’ interest in a series of tweets, calling them “not serious” and providing an additional timeline.
“These discussions first occurred before the team traded for Deshaun Watson and have not spoken about Garoppolo ‘in a while,’ according to a league source.” Stainbrook tweeted. “If Garoppolo talks did take place, they were considered ‘general talks’ and nothing serious at the time. Some in Cleveland believe Garoppolo could eventually be released.
Much of the Browns’ interest in landing Garoppolo would hinge on Watson’s suspension. If he’s only out 4-6 games then there wouldn’t be much point in adding Garoppolo as veteran Jacoby Brissett is capable of picking up those starts. If there are more, it could open the door for a conversation, though Browns insider Mary Kay Cabot of Cleveland.com doesn’t think he’s on Cleveland’s radar.
“The Browns are still not expected to seek him as a replacement for Deshaun Watson for as many games as he is out this season,” she wrote on July 20. “For starters, Watson’s camp remains optimistic that he will see the field this year, possibly for the last eight or nine games. In this scenario, the Browns are comfortable with Jacoby Brissett holding, especially with a relatively soft first four games. They believe Brissett will do better than some are expecting, especially with the supporting cast he will have this season.”
Although reports of Watson’s possible suspension have surfaced, there still remains a great deal of uncertainty about the final verdict. The NFL was pushing for a full season with a chance of reinstatement by the end of the year, according to The Washington Post.
Watson’s reps have been reported to be optimistic he will see the field this season, and Pro Football Talk’s Mike Florio spoke to a source who says “the Browns are privately looking forward to an eight-game suspension from Watson.” prepare”.
Even with Watson out for eight games, there is a strong opinion the Browns would seek an experienced replacement to sit behind Brissett.
Behind Brissett on the depth chart currently is Joshua Dobbs, who has been through OTAs and minicamps with the Browns this offseason. He has completed just 10 of 17 pass attempts for 45 yards and one interception. Options are limited at this point in the offseason, with Cam Newton and Josh Rosen mentioned as possible targets.