After weeks and weeks of being in limbo, the Cleveland Browns now know that they will be without quarterback Deshaun Watson for the first 11 games of this season because of his suspension resulting from his sexual misconduct allegations.
It’s an unfortunate number of games, as it means they will not have him for their toughest stretch of the season.
That stretch begins in Week 5 with a game versus the Los Angeles Chargers and runs until their Week 12 tilt against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
As it stands, the talented roster executive Andrew Berry has put together on both sides of the football will largely go to waste with career backup Jacoby Brissett starting under center for the majority of the schedule.
But the Browns should still have the opportunity to change that by trading for veteran QB Jimmy Garoppolo, should they choose to do so.
.@RealTannenbaum says if he's the Browns, he'd be on the phone with the 49ers to get Jimmy Garoppolo.
"I'm not getting off the phone until we have a deal!" pic.twitter.com/LYQBlfv5X7
— Get Up (@GetUpESPN) August 16, 2022
Jason Lloyd, a Cleveland sports columnist for The Athletic, was adamant in a Friday article that the team go after him.
“The Cleveland Browns have a problem. Inexplicably, it remains the same issue they’ve had for the better part of the last 20 years,” Lloyd wrote.
“The Browns need a quarterback. Again.
“Eleven games isn’t a headache. It’s a head wound.
“It’s time to go get Jimmy Garoppolo.”
Brissett Just Won’t Cut It
In six NFL seasons, Brissett hasn’t really done anything to prove he is a starting-caliber NFL QB.
He has started just 37 of the 60 games he has played in, and overall, he has completed just 60.2 percent of his passes while posting a passer rating of just 83.0.
Brissett also has the tendency to get sacked, something that has happened 106 times in his career.
That may not seem like a lot in 60 contests, but his career sack rate of 8.1 percent is rather high.
Berry can say what he wants publicly about how confident he is in having Brissett under center while Watson is out, but the 29-year-old simply doesn’t seem like the man who can keep Cleveland’s playoff hopes alive while Watson is doing his sentence.
Lloyd didn’t pull any punches when describing how inept Brissett is.
“Brissett is a journeyman backup. He’s fine in small doses, but as someone who watched him closely when he was a starter for the Colts told me, the more he plays, the more he’s exposed. The Browns can’t risk their season to a backup.
“Garoppolo’s worst season as a starter is better than Brissett’s best in terms of quarterback rating.
Garoppolo Would Be The Ideal Solution
Yes, Garoppolo is injury-prone.
Yes, Garoppolo is prone to throwing interceptions.
Yes, Garoppolo isn’t the best in crunch time in big games.
But despite those flaws, he could do very well to keep the Browns in the playoff hunt until Week 13.
Since being traded to the San Francisco 49ers midway through the 2017 season, he has had a 31-14 record as a starter for them.
He has taken them to the NFC Championship Game twice and the Super Bowl once in just the last three seasons.
In that span, Garoppolo has completed 68.5 percent of his passes, thrown 54 touchdown passes in 37 contests and achieved a very robust passer rating of 99.4.
Jimmy Garoppolo had the best Completion Rate Under Pressure last NFL Season at 58.6%.
Which quarterback finished the season in second spot? pic.twitter.com/CwvW8o8UpZ
— Chris Nass (@NassNFL) August 14, 2022
It is understandable that the Browns may not want to trade for him because of his contract, which will pay him well over $20 million this season.
It has been speculated that if they cough up a draft pick, perhaps the 49ers would be willing to take care of a good portion of that money.
Some would say the Browns should simply wait for Garoppolo to be released within the next few weeks, but that would give him very little time to learn coach Kevin Stefanski’s playbook and build chemistry with their players.
Plus, in that scenario, he could simply decide to go to another team and leave Cleveland high and dry.