Baker Mayfield, Excused Jimmy Garoppolo: Best and Worst Scenarios for NFL QBs | Ovarian Report

Ronald Martinez / Getty Images

It’s not often that as the calendar turns to June, a pair of experienced veteran quarterbacks who each started at least 45 games and won a playoff are stuck in limbo in the NFL.

But this hasn’t been an ordinary season – especially as a centre-back.

Mandatory mini camps are being launched throughout the league, but you won’t see Jimmy Gabropolo of the San Francisco 49ers or Baker Mayfield of the Cleveland Browns on the field when they do. Both quarterbacks have been excused from training, with ESPN’s Nick Wagner reporting Garoppolo will be seated while Pro Football Talk’s Josh Alper writes Mayfield will be seated. The odds are good none of the quarterbacks will ever take it back for their teams.

It’s a wonderful fall from grace for both midfielders. Garoppolo was the starting under position for the 49ers at Super Bowl LIV and led San Francisco to the NFC Championship Game last season. Mayfield was the first overall pick in 2018 and led the Browns to the franchise’s first post-season victory in more than two decades in 2020.

Much has been written about how midfielders got into this unfortunate situation. But at this point, the most pressing question is where to go from here.

What is the best scenario for moving forward in their future? What is the worst? And which quarterback is the best investment?

Baker Mayfield

What a difference the year makes.

1 year ago at this time. Mayfield was a star in the making. Brown had won 11 games and defeated the Steelers on the Wild Card Tour. Mayfield threw for over 3,500 yards with 26 touchdowns and only eight interceptions. The massive extension seemed an imposed consequence. The future was now.

But Brown did not extend Mayfield. Then the bottom fell. Mayfield played most of the season with a tear in his left shoulder, and his production declined. Mayfield’s numbers fell across the board. His sales soared. Brown missed the playoffs.

Once the season ended, things went from bad to worse. Cleveland’s courtship of Deshaun Watson didn’t go well with Mayfield, so much so that he wrote a farewell letter to the team’s fans. This led to an unnamed source telling ESPN’s Chris Mortensen (according to Dan Lyons of Sports Illustrated) that Brown wanted an “adult” for the position. The team finally reached out to Watson, but even if they didn’t, the relationship seemed irrevocably divided.

Mark Alberti / Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

There are several reasons why Brown could not find a business partner for Mayfield. What’s most evident is that in two of Mayfield’s four seasons, the 27-year-old hasn’t played well. Yes, injuries played a role in last year’s struggles. But Mayfield has also made some baffling bad decisions about football.

Then there is the matter of the Mayfield contract. Entering the final year of his start-up deal, he earned a 2022 salary of $18.9 million. That’s a lot of money to play a player coming off a rough season and one game under 0.500 as a rookie with a pro pass rating of under 90. Mayfield also did himself no favors with his public grumbling about being stalked by Watson – grumbling that only helped cement the assertion in some Circles that Mayfield is immature.

There is also the issue of Cleveland’s lack of leverage in the negotiations. The rest of the league knows Mayfield is a lame duck quarterback who doesn’t want to be on a team he doesn’t. Bear Jonathan Alexander Charlotte Observerthe Panthers discussed acquiring Mayfield again in April – but only if Cleveland paid the majority of his salary.

best case

Mayfield’s best score is an extremely unlikely outcome. With Watson staring at the suspension of potentially prolonged personal behavior as a result of more than two dozen civil lawsuits by women alleging sexual assault or misconduct during massage therapy sessions, Brown could head into the season with daily laborers Jacobi Brissett and Joshua Dobbs just under center. Say what you will about Mayfield, but it’s an upgrade on them.

If both sides are willing to put the tough feelings aside and work together, Brown could get the quarterback to steer the team through Watson’s comment. Mayfield will have the best chance of rehabilitating his stock before reaching free agency.

Jason Miller / Getty Images

But this will not happen.

Far from that fairy tale, Mayfield’s best chance of changing his career in 2022 likely depends on a team suffering an injury below center, similar to Teddy Bridgewater in Minnesota in 2016. The Panthers and Seattle Seahawks don’t seem interested, and the rest is settled The league is in the middle, at least in the short term.

worst case

Unfortunately, Mayfield’s worst case is far more likely than the best. Brown has reportedly indicated they have no intention of releasing him, which is understandable – with his 2022 salary guaranteed, Brown would essentially pay Mayfield to play elsewhere.

With no real commercial market for his services, it is possible that Mayfield will remain in limbo all season. He’s reached free agency after missing an entire year after the worst season of his career. This would surely force him to make a modest short-term deal in 2023 – most likely as a backup.

Jimmy Garoppolo

Like Baker Mayfield, Jimmy Garoppolo has found himself on the wrong end of his team looking to be promoted into the most important position in the NFL. But that is just the only similarity between the two cases.

The Niners mortgaged their futures a year ago to draft Garoppolo’s replacement, trading three first- and third-round picks for the right to move up to third overall and pick Trey Lance. But instead of writing a farewell letter to fans, Garoppolo got to work. In 15 starts, Garoppolo completed 68.3 percent of his passes for 3,810 yards and 20 touchdowns while taking the team in a game from his second Super Bowl in three years.

Garoppolo underwent shoulder surgery in March and, as Legold reported, head coach Kyle Shanahan pointed out Garoppolo’s rehab is the reason he’s not in the junior camp — as well as why he’s still on the roster.

“Nothing has changed since the surgery, we knew where we were before, and then he had the surgery, so it all stopped,” Shanahan said. “I would expect it to be traded at some point probably, but who knows. That’s not a guarantee and he was completely put on hold when it did. And when he’s healthy, we’ll see what happens.”

Christian Petersen / Getty Images

The 30-year-old Garoppolo isn’t a world-class player below the center position – having just two seasons 3,000 yards in eight years in the league, he’s thrown double-digit interceptions in two of the past three years and has played in more than six games just twice. But he has completed more than 67 percent of his passes in his career, has a career passing rating of 98.9 and most importantly has won games—31 of his 45 in San Francisco.

Given Garoppolo’s durability concerns, it’s no surprise that the commercial market for its services is impressive. The teams want at least some semblance of confirmation that he’s healthy before investing the venture capital and earning a base salary of $24.2 million from Garoppolo.

The problem for both the player and the team is that while Garoppolo has been rehabilitating his shoulder, the market for his services has dried up significantly.

best case

The best case for Garoppolo is not particularly likely, although it is more likely than Mayfield

As previously mentioned, Shanahan said it’s not guaranteed that the 49ers will deal with Garoppolo. And if that’s the case, the best thing that can happen to Garoppolo is to stay put.

There’s also no guarantee that Lance is ready to take over the offensive for a team that creates a Super Bowl opponent. And if Lance isn’t ready and/or San Francisco can’t get the deal they want, Garoppolo’s best chances of success lie in the team where he’s knowledgeable about attacking and has a higher payout as a starter than Aaron Rodgers does in Green Bay.

Robin Alam/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Then, after an extra season with the San Francisco quarterback, Garoppolo could hit free agency in 2023 with a much better chance of getting another big contract.

worst case

There isn’t necessarily a “worst case” with Garoppolo – at least not one that’s as bad as Mayfield.

With that said, there are situations that don’t set Garoppolo poised for success – and they are with two of the most likely landing spots for him.

The Carolina Panthers and Seattle Seahawks have some firepower in attack, whether it’s Tyler Lockett and DK Metcalf in Seattle or DJ Moore and Christian McCaffrey in Charlotte. There is also no dispute that Garoppolo will be an upgrade on the Drew Lock/Geno Smith swamp in Emerald City and Sam Darnold in Carolina.

But while Garoppolo would be better, he’s not the type to lift the franchise on his own — and the Seahawks and Panthers team is deeply flawed. Carolina and Seattle won just two more games than San Francisco in 2021.

Garoppolo’s next contract will largely depend on his success (or lack thereof) in 2022. Leading a bad team won’t help his chances.

Who is “the man?”

This is a question without a comprehensive answer. The best caller signal investment depends on the situation in which the team finds itself.

For a rebuilding team like the Seahawks, Panthers or New York Giants, Mayfield is the best option. It’s not about a lower salary, although that is certainly a consideration. In rebuilding, the future is as important as the present. Not only is Mayfield several years younger than Garoppolo, but if he can get his form back in 2020, he will have a higher ceiling.

Ric Tapia / Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

However, as a temporary fill-in to an injured beginner, a bridge to a novice or even a standby during a potential Watson suspension, the Garoppolo is the way to go. It’s a much sturdier and more stable option than the Mayfield. He may have a low ceiling, but he has a higher floor. And as he showed last year in San Francisco, he’s a professional pro. Also, if the Niners end up firing a completely Garoppolo, it might be available for a more affordable price.

If it’s all about the safety and stability your team strives for, the Garoppolo is your man. But if you’re willing to gamble a bit to chase potential upside, take Mayfield…

I hope he wakes up feeling in danger.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.