The Browns are awaiting a decision on Deshaun Watson’s suspension length, which will help them shape their expectations for the position for the year. Watson was initially handed a six-game ban by independent arbitrator Sue L. Robinson but the NFL has appealed, which could potentially lead to the three-time Pro Bowler being sidelined for the year.
If that’s the case, the Browns will be relying on Jacoby Brissett to be their starter for the long haul, which isn’t ideal for a team built to win now. While Garoppolo presents an opportunity for an upgrade, it doesn’t look like the Browns are willing to make the move.
“I just don’t get the sense that the Browns are that interested. I just don’t. I mean, they signed Jacoby Brissett for a reason,” NFL insider Rapoport said on the Pat McAfee Show on Monday. “If they trade for Jimmy G, it’s 20-plus more million dollars. … I’ve checked with everyone. Maybe something will surprise me. I just do not get the sense that there’s that much interest in him.”
Browns Interest in Garoppolo Clarified After Report
The Garoppolo-to-Browns rumors picked up steam last week when Mary Kay Cabot of Cleveland.com reported that the Browns would consider him as an option if Watson’s suspension was extended for a significant amount of time. Cabot joined the Afternoon Drive on 92.3 The Fan on Monday to give more insight on her report.
“That kind of took on a life of its own. It took on more weight and meaning than I meant to give it,” Cabot explained. “Jimmy Garoppolo has not been on their front burner all season long. They were not interested in him seriously as an upgrade over Baker Mayfield. In the event Deshaun is out for a very lengthy period of time, I’m sure they’ll have a conversation about Jimmy, but it doesn’t mean they’re picking up the phone and trading for him right away. There are a lot of hurdles that would have to be crossed. It’s not front-burner, it’s something you have a talk about.”
Brissett is set to pick up the majority of first-team reps in practice going forward but will not play until the final preseason game. The Browns have joint practices scheduled with the Eagles this week and he’s expected to get in a significant workload.
“I think he has been sharp since April. I have been very impressed by Jacoby,” Browns head coach Kevin Stefanski said Monday. “Very comfortable with him. Understand his skillset. I think he has a very good understanding of what we are trying to do offensively.”
Browns Have Resources to Make QB Move if Needed
There are reasons to believe that the Browns would consider Garoppolo. The 30-year-old is a proven veteran with a 33-14 record as a starting QB and comes with playoff experience. He’s tossed for 11,852 yards, 71 touchdowns and 38 interceptions across eight professional seasons with the 49ers and the New England Patriots.
Last year, Garoppolo passed for 3,810 yards, 20 touchdowns and 12 interceptions, although he slumped in the playoffs. He tossed just two touchdowns and three interceptions over three postseason games, but the 49ers were still knocking on the door of the Super Bowl.
The Browns are one of the few teams around the league that could make a trade for Garoppolo work without having to get too creative with their cap space. Cleveland has just under $49 million in cap room remaining (per Over the Cap), which is the most in the NFL.
That being said, Cleveland could decide to wait if the 49ers simply cut Garoppolo, which would make an acquisition less costly. San Francisco has been clear that he won’t play into their plans this season and will be forced to let him go before the start of the year when his money becomes guaranteed.