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Why Jimmy Garoppolo's Fate Largely Depends on Deshaun Watson's Fate

If the NFL suspends Watson for the entire season, it's easy to see the Browns trading for Garoppolo out of desperation.
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Jimmy Garoppolo soon will start throwing for the first time since his shoulder surgery and, once he shows he's healthy, theoretically a trade market for him will materialize.

I don't buy it.

Garoppolo might get traded this offseason, but his market doesn't depend on his shoulder. From all reports, his surgery was relatively minor and he is expected to make a full recovery. So if he were good, teams would have traded for him already.

Garoppolo's trade market likely is just one team -- the Cleveland Browns. And they would be interested in trading for him only if the NFL suspends Deshaun Watson for the entire upcoming season. And that means Garoppolo's fate largely depends on Watson's fate.

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The NFL still has not decided how long to suspend Watson for the two dozen lawsuits filed against him. If the NFL suspends Watson for the entire season, it's easy to see the Browns trading for Garoppolo out of desperation, because Baker Mayfield refuses to play for them, and they're a good team that probably think it needs a quarterback with playoff experience such as Garoppolo.

But the NFL might not suspend Watson for the full season. No criminal chargers have been filed against him, and he sat out last season. Plus, according to the Collective Bargaining Agreement, the league is supposed to hold owners to a higher standard than players, and at least four owners currently are under investigation, but none have been punished. This is a complicated matter.

If the NFL suspends Watson for only part of the upcoming season, it seems highly unlikely the Browns would trade for Garoppolo, and that means the trade market would disappear, and the 49ers either would have to keep Garoppolo or release him.

So much depends on the quarterback in Cleveland.