It looks like the Cleveland Browns and QB Baker Mayfield are headed for a divorce but that’s been true since the team acquired QB Deshaun Watson over two months ago. Since then, the NFL draft has come and gone with the majority of the major moves in the NFL completed.
However, a week later in June, Mayfield is still on the Browns’ roster and we’re nowhere near knowing what that story will be. The simplest solution, to trade with the Carolina Panthers, faded into the night of the draw leaving simple options very limited.
This brings us to another quarterback with his future in the air: Jimmy Garoppolo. The 49ers traded in San Fransisco (using a trade package similar to the one the Browns used to acquire Watson) for Trey Lance in the 2021 draft. With one season remaining on his contract and out of surgery, Garoppolo’s future in the Bay Area is in doubt.
Ben Folin of The Boston Globe suggested a simple swap for the midfielders:
Wearing my GM hat for a minute: Baker for Garoppolo straight. Who says no?
Browns get one-year Watson insurance, Niners get veteran Lance backup, and each team gets rid of a contract they don’t want
– Ben Folin (@BenVolin) 6 June 2022
For the Niners, having a solid backup that can start with a savings of about $7 million to use on Deebo Samuel’s contract makes sense. Getting a quarterback that’s hoping to get started but expected to start as Lance’s backup might be a bit worrisome.
For the Browns, losing cap space to bring in the expected quarterback is meaningless unless the team believes Watson will be suspended for most or all of the 2022 season.
Mayfield will end Garoppolo’s two of the quarterback’s biggest questions of the season while giving Cleveland more insurance but it seems unlikely on both sides even if it’s intriguing.