After the Cleveland Browns traded Baker Mayfield to the Carolina Panthers Wednesday, many have wondered how that deal impacts Jimmy Garoppolo’s 2022 season outlook.
Only two teams had been connected to Mayfield, the Panthers and Seattle Seahawks, though NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport disputed reports that the latter club had a strong interest in the former Browns quarterback. According to The News Tribune’s Gregg Bell, the Seahawks planned to have a quarterback competition between Geno Smith and Drew Lock all along.
With the quarterback seats filled across the league, the San Francisco 49ers don’t have any potential trade suitors for Garoppolo, or do they? Is it time to cut him and most of his $27 million cap hit as the coaching staff prepares Trey Lance to start in the upcoming campaign?
Not so fast.
In the coming days or weeks, the 49ers should reach out to the Browns. If the league suspends Deshaun Watson for several games or perhaps the entire 2022 season, Jacoby Brissett would be in line to start under center.
Watson’s disciplinary hearing for alleged sexual assault and misconduct involving 26 cases with women (masseuses) concluded last week. According to Andrew Beaton of the Wall Street Journal, the NFL will push for an indefinite suspension.
With Watson’s short-term future unclear, the Browns can bridge the gap between the present and their starting quarterback’s return to action. Garoppolo has more big-game experience than Brissett, having started in six playoff games including a Super Bowl two years ago.
Garoppolo is on the mend from shoulder surgery, but he’s scheduled to throw this month, per ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler. The Browns can bring him in as a viable option to start at some point during the upcoming campaign.
Per NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero and Rapoport, the Panthers gave up a conditional 2024 fifth-round pick for Mayfield, and they’ll pay him $4.9 million for 2022. Per NFL Network’s Mike Garafolo, the Browns will pay Mayfield $10.5 million, and he agreed to trim about $3.5 million from the base salary of his rookie contract.
Though Garoppolo has a 31-14 record as a starter for the 49ers, he shouldn’t cost that much more than Mayfield because of his spotty availability and low-volume production.