Jimmy Garoppolo could be a realistic option for the Browns starting quarterback job this season depending on how long Deshaun Watson is suspended
Currently, as decided by Sue L. Robinson, Watson must serve a 6-game suspension. However, following Robinson’s suggestion of the 6-game ban, the NFL decided to express their collectively bargained right to appeal that decision to you guessed it…the NFL.
According to many reports, the league is pushing for an indefinite suspension on Watson, with a minimum of a 1-year ban from playing.
Currently, during the time before Harvey makes a final ruling, Watson’s side and the NFL are allowed to communicate to see if the two sides can come to a settlement. Thursday night, AP reported that Watson’s side is willing to settle for an 8-game suspension as well as a $5 million fine.
It’s currently unknown whether or not the league will be willing to settle on such a lower number away from one full season. Don’t bank on the NFL to agree to a settlement that low, as they are continuing to push for an indefinite suspension on Watson.
In the likely event of Deshaun Watson receiving a significantly heftier suspension (and potentially fine) from Peter Harvey, the Browns would consider acquiring quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo, who’s currently on the San Francisco 49ers, according to Mary Kay Cabot.
For example, if the team finds out Watson will miss the entirety of the 2022 campaign, the Browns saying they’re going to roll out Jacoby Brissett for an entire season would send the wrong message to the likes of Myles Garrett, Denzel Ward, Nick Chubb (among others) by wasting one valuable year of their careers while they’re still in their prime.
This is why making a move for Garoppolo makes the most sense. However, one outstanding problem is his contract situation, where he’s currently set to make $24 million for the 2022 season.
This is one of a few reasons why it seems unlikely for Cleveland to acquire Garoppolo via trade. The Browns will presumably not be very interested in giving up any sort of draft compensation to acquire the 30-year-old veteran quarterback on a sizable deal, but could be something they are forced to do.
This should give fans some déjà vu from the Baker Mayfield dilemma.
Yes, Cleveland has the most cap space in the NFL by almost double, but Andrew Berry and the front office realize and understand that they will need money to continue to pay younger talent to keep them around Cleveland in the future.
The 49ers have no trade leverage on Garoppolo right now and have even publically stated that they will be rolling with former 3rd overall pick Trey Lance at quarterback. Garoppolo is not in their plans whatsoever.
It’s likely only a matter of time until Garoppolo is released by the 49ers, barring any unforeseen quarterback injuries.
We’ll see how desperate the Browns get if they find out Watson will be unavailable for the entire 2022 season, or a major part of it and if they end up giving up a mid to late-round draft pick to get the services of Garoppolo.
They could also play the waiting game and try to pursue Jimmy G if/when he is released by San Francisco. However, Cleveland will certainly have some competition for Garoppolo in the free agent market.
The Seattle Seahawks and several other teams would likely be very interested in bringing in the veteran Garoppolo.
Garoppolo is a two-time Super Bowl champion and a player who has proven he knows how to win a football game. He may not light up the stat sheet, but he is a capable quarterback who understands the game and someone who has Super Bowl experience.
Jimmy Garoppolo and the Browns make sense
Jimmy G to Cleveland makes a lot of sense for several reasons. First, his chance of winning a Super Bowl would be highest with Cleveland’s current roster, which is one of the best in the league. In all likeliness, Garoppolo would be playing for the Browns on a 1-year deal, which could benefit him next offseason if he were to have a good season in Cleveland.
Additionally, head coach Kevin Stefanski runs a very similar west-coast style offense as Kyle Shannahan does in San Francisco, which would make the transition significantly easier for Garoppolo.
If Watson is suspended for a significant amount of games in 2022, or even the whole season, Garoppolo to Cleveland makes sense for both sides and could become a realistic scenario.
However as of now, business is as usual for Cleveland and Watson, as he is set to make his first career start for the orange and brown Friday night in Jacksonville for the team’s first preseason game against the Jaguars.