Stan Szeto-USA TODAY Sports

Stan Szeto-USA TODAY Sports

49ers’ Jimmy G options dwindle: Browns trade Baker Mayfield to Panthers

Rohan Chakravarthi
Jul 6, 2022 at 11:02 AM--

The Cleveland Browns have agreed to trade quarterback Baker Mayfield to the Carolina Panthers in exchange for a 2024 conditional fifth-round pick, according to NFL Network's Ian Rapoport. That's bad news for the San Francisco 49ers, who watch their options for Jimmy Garoppolo dwindle as yet another quarterback-needy team adds a veteran passer.

The Browns are also paying nearly $10.5 million of Mayfield's 2022 salary, while the Panthers are only on the hook for around $5 million, as Mayfield elected to trim $3.5 million of his salary for the trade, according to NFL Network's Mike Garofolo.

Mayfield, scorned by the Browns trading for Deshaun Watson in March, asked repeatedly to be traded, even with Deshaun Watson's status for the 2022 season in the air. With Mayfield's wish granted, Cleveland could be in the market for another quarterback with Watson's legal troubles continuing to mount, although, the team signed Jacoby Brissett in March and is intending to move forward with him in the likelihood that Watson receives a suspension.

Mayfield now joins a group of young quarterbacks in Sam Darnold and Matt Corral, immediately taking over as the top signal-caller on the depth chart as Carolina looks to rebound from their 5-12 record in 2021.

The Niners hoped to deal Garoppolo elsewhere ahead of the start of the new league year in March, but the quarterback underwent shoulder surgery, halting all trade talks, according to general manager John Lynch and head coach Kyle Shanahan.

While the 49ers have publicly stated that they are prepared to hold onto Garoppolo and his hefty salary during the 2022 season, few believe such a move is being seriously considered. With Garoppolo sidelined until early next month, second-year quarterback Trey Lance took the bulk of the first-team reps during the offseason program and is slated to be San Francisco's Week 1 starter.

"I expect [Garoppolo], at some time, most likely, to be traded," Shanahan said last month, "but who knows? That's not a guarantee, and it's been on hold [since] that happened."

What if Garoppolo is still on the roster at the start of training camp, assuming he is 100 percent healthy? Would the 49ers hold him out of practice?

"I'll think about that when that day comes," Shanahan responded on June 7. "But [if] Jimmy's under contract with us, and he's healthy, right now, I would see him coming to practice unless we traded him."

As of now, without a serious trade candidate available for Garoppolo's services, it remains to be seen what the 49ers do with their veteran quarterback.

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