If you’re the Cleveland Browns, it’s time to pick up the phone and work out a trade for Jimmy Garoppolo.
We now know that Deshaun Watson has been suspended 11 games. So a talented roster featuring young stars like Myles Garrett, Nick Chubb and Denzel Ward is now left to rely on the arm of Jacoby Brissett.
That’s not exactly like replacing Montana with Young or Bledsoe with Brady.
You can pick a side and debate whether Watson’s suspension was fair. But what can’t be argued is that Cleveland is built to win now, albeit with the weakest part of their foundation being at the game’s most important position, quarterback.
That’s why it’s now imperative for GM Andrew Berry and the Browns front office to swing a deal with San Francisco to bring Jimmy Garoppolo east. Jimmy G’s wasting away in San Francisco. He’s healthy, yet away from the team as they attempt to trade him after officially handing the reins to second-year QB Trey Lance.
So Why Jimmy Garoppolo?
He’s flat out better than Brissett and it’s easy for Cleveland to take on Garoppolo’s hefty salary. Garoppolo is slated to make more than $24 million, and Cleveland has more than $45 million in available cap space
Jimmy Garoppolo has been to a Super Bowl and appeared in the postseason five times, including two of the last three seasons. His success has largely been aided by a strong defense and running game, arguably the two areas in which Cleveland is strongest.
Excluding the 2015 season when Garoppolo attempted just one pass, he’s never had a season in which his passer rating has been under 90.0. For his career, he has an average QB rating of 98.9. Brissett’s career-best is 88.0.
What about all that money? Garoppolo’s contract expires after the 2022-23 season. It makes him the ideal one-year rental.
Realistically, he can guide the Browns through their first 11 games, then step aside once Watson returns. Or, if he’s exceeding expectations, Cleveland can stick with the hot hand and keep its $230 million investment on the shelf until next fall.
Either way, Jimmy G’s only on the books for one year and Watson’s hefty salary doesn’t kick in until 2023.
Wait Are You Waiting For, Cleveland?
By relying on Brissett, who’s gone 14-23 across six pro seasons with New England, Indianapolis and Miami, Cleveland would essentially be punting on the 2022 season. Not ideal for a team with Garrett, Ward and Chubb in their primes, along with two Pro Bowl offensive lineman (Joel Bitonio and Wyatt Teller) and an ascending defense.
Why waste a year of affordable talent from your team’s best players?
Cleveland literally can’t afford to wait. Watson’s big money days are looming, and contract extensions for a handful of other prime contributors are nearing.
Are you listening, GM Andrew Berry and owner Jimmy Haslam? By aligning with Garoppolo—a proven winner with a career mark of 33 and 14—Cleveland is likely to post a winning record in the 11 games they’re without Watson. An AFC North title would certainly seem attainable.
Stringing together wins and remaining competitive in the AFC would go a long way towards regaining the trust of a broken fan base. Browns fans are desperately trying to move on from the months-long Watson headache.
Make the call.
Follow along on Twitter: @OhioAF
Don’t @ Me: Browns Should Take Jimmy G If Watson Is Suspended
The suspension is going to be more than 6 games — what are the Browns going to do at the quarterback position without him? Here’s what Dan Dakich had to say on “Don’t @ Me”: