Sergio Estrada-USA TODAY Sports

Sergio Estrada-USA TODAY Sports

Should the Browns pursue 49ers QB Jimmy Garoppolo? Bucky Brooks weighs in

Aug 18, 2022 at 4:31 PM--

The NFL and NFLPA handed down an 11-game suspension on Cleveland Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson. San Francisco 49ers fans were probably hoping for a lengthier sentence, potentially sparking some trade interest in Jimmy Garoppolo. A season-long suspension probably would have generated some more urgency on the Browns' part.

"We have a lot of confidence in [QB] Jacoby [Brissett]," Cleveland general manager Andrew Berry said on Thursday, making it sound like the team is prepared to push through the first 11 games with the seventh-year veteran helming the offense.

While many view Garoppolo as an upgrade over Brissett, NFL analyst Bucky Brooks doesn't feel that is the case if you factor in the 49ers quarterback's current salary. The Browns are probably unwilling to fork over $25 million for a short-term solution, despite their roster being stacked with talent. Brooks likes Garoppolo, his 31-14 career record, and playoff experience, but admits he shouldn't be considered a high-end starter.

"With the Browns looking for a long-term sub at the quarterback position, Garoppolo's familiarity with the system as a five-year starter under Kyle Shanahan is certainly intriguing to a coaching staff that wants to feature the 'stretch-bootleg' combination as the foundation of its offense," wrote Brooks.

However, Brooks does see a scenario where the Browns could be interested in acquiring Garoppolo. It just wouldn't benefit the 49ers much. He believes Cleveland should be interested should San Francisco end up releasing the quarterback, which could be what happens given the lack of interest around the league.

"Garoppolo is an oft-injured turnover machine who exhibits questionable judgment outside the pocket," wrote Brooks. "Perhaps he can avoid the injury bug and rein in some 'hero' throws that frequently lead to interceptions, but it is hard for a quarterback to change his style and approach at this stage of his career.

"With Brissett better suited to play mistake-free football from the pocket, the Browns should hold off on pursuing Garoppolo until he is free and clear from the 49ers. At that point, he might be willing to take a bargain-basement deal to join a team with Super Bowl aspirations."

If Garoppolo does end up with the Browns, it might not be via a trade. While the 49ers transition to second-year quarterback Trey Lance, the offseason Garoppolo situation and hopes of reaping a nice reward for the veteran quarterback seems to have backfired on the organization. Soon, it might be time for San Francisco to accept that and cut their losses.

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