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Why it's Looking Increasingly Likely the 49ers Will Trade Jimmy Garoppolo to the Browns

The 49ers probably wouldn't get much in return for Garoppolo -- maybe a sixth-round draft pick. But at least they could say they traded him and didn't release him.
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Finally, the quarterback market might break the 49ers' way.

The NFL reportedly wants to suspend Deshaun Watson indefinitely and for a minimum of one year. If the NFL succeeds, the Browns will need a quarterback. And Baker Mayfield probably isn't the answer for them, considering he requested a trade.

Enter the 49ers and Jimmy Garoppolo.

If Watson gets suspended for a full season, the Browns won't have to pay him for a full 12 months, and that means they could afford to pay Jimmy Garoppolo for one year, which is all he has left on his contract.

Theoretically, if/when the NFL suspends Watson, the Browns could trade Mayfield to the Seattle Seahawks, who desperately need a starting quarterback, and the 49ers could trade Jimmy Garoppolo to the Cleveland Browns, who would rent him for one year.

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The 49ers probably wouldn't get much in return for Garoppolo -- maybe a sixth-round draft pick. But at least they could say they traded him and didn't release him.

This scenario all depends on the Browns convincing themselves that they can win with Jimmy Garoppolo. Ideally, they would simply keep Baker Mayfield, who has more talent and is younger than Garoppolo, but that relationship seems broken beyond repair. So Garoppolo might be Cleveland's best option.

Still, before the Browns make a move, they should know the real reason the 49ers are getting rid of Garoppolo, the real reason they traded up for Trey Lance in the first place. And it's not because Garoppolo gets injured sometimes.

It's because Garoppolo is the worst downfield passer in the NFL. In his entire career, he has attempted only 30 that traveled at least 30 yards downfield, and has completed a pathetic five of them, while throwing five interceptions and just one touchdown pass. That means when Garoppolo throws downfield, he's just as likely to complete the pass to the other team as he is to his own.

Good for the 49ers if they get anything in return for him.