Since March, two storylines have dominated the Browns‘ offseason.
One: where will Baker Mayfield play next season?
The Mayfield saga is rather run-of-the-mill; every offseason, a few teams feel the heat from alienated players who want a change of scenery.
But the Mayfield storyline is complicated by the significantly more important second storyline, which is arguably the most important in the NFL and professional sports.
The two storylines are feeding off one another, and now more than ever, it looks like the Browns need at least a short-term option under center.
The next step in the Deshaun Watson situation is for Watson to have a hearing with the NFL to determine his discipline.
Earlier this offseason, the Browns traded their future for Watson and immediately signed him to a fully guaranteed five-year deal for $230 million.
Now, the Browns face a reality that’s been clear to everyone for some time: Watson probably won’t play this season.
And there’s a chance that’s just the tip of the iceberg.
The NFL clarified that they are pushing for an indefinite suspension, but no shorter than one year.
Ahead of the disciplinary hearing today, I was told the NFL's expected to focus on 5 women in its Deshaun Watson discipline case, but also that 2 of them had their claims dismissed by separate grand juries. My understanding is evidence will be presented by Watson’s side… 1/3
— IG: JosinaAnderson (@JosinaAnderson) June 28, 2022
That leaves Cleveland scrambling under center.
The team will have to call on journeyman Jacoby Brissett to fill in since Mayfield is certainly not returning to Cleveland.
But is that really what the Browns want?
This team is set up to win now, underscored by moves for Amari Cooper and a defense in its prime.
And Jacoby Brissett is simply not the answer if Cleveland hopes to contend this season.
Enter Jimmy Garoppolo.
Give It A Look
If Browns fans were told they could have a quarterback with a 4-2 record in the postseason, including a trip to the Super Bowl, how might they react?
What if they were told that in this quarterback’s two most recent seasons that he played at least 15 games, the QB posted a 22-9 record.
Or that in those seasons, this QB threw 47 touchdowns.
With a rating of around 100.
Oh, and that this quarterback doesn’t have any pending sexual misconduct lawsuits or NFL sanctions on the horizon.
They’d probably be pretty thrilled.
That quarterback is Jimmy Garoppolo.
The only problem for Jimmy G?
He’s coming off a severe shoulder surgery that has limited his offseason workouts.
But is Garoppolo a better quarterback than Jacoby Brissett?
At this point, the San Francisco Forty-Niners have the West Coast version of Baker Mayfield.
The Niners are ready to go with another option (Trey Lance) but don’t appear to have any suitors for Garoppolo.
So why shouldn’t the Browns at least explore a trade for Jimmy G?
At this point, the former Niners signal-caller could likely be had for cheap and brings in a playoff resume that at least suggests the Browns have a chance of reaching the postseason.
If a team agrees to pony up a late-round draft pick for Mayfield, could that pick simply be jettisoned off to San Fransisco to bring in Garoppolo?
#Browns are a team to watch for #49ers Jimmy Garoppolo with Deshaun Watson facing a possible suspension. @CBSSports pic.twitter.com/qx7iNyr8Vo
— NFL Rumors (@nflrums) June 28, 2022
But Garoppolo’s contract is massive — he’s set to earn $24 million this season.
So the Browns need the Niners to take a bite of that.
Regardless, the Browns are in a position where every option should be explored.
Unfortunately, Cleveland doesn’t have a great track record of leaving no stone unturned in their investigations.
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