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Why the 49ers Would Have to Take Back Baker Mayfield to Trade Jimmy Garoppolo to the Browns

"Has the 49ers' GM ever won a trade?"
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Lots of speculation these days that the 49ers might trade Jimmy Garoppolo to the Browns.

Are the Browns actually interested? Is a trade even feasible? To find out, I interviewed Pete Smith of FanNation's Browns Digest. Here's what he said.

ME: Is it possible the Browns might trade for Jimmy Garoppolo?

PS: "Yes, but not in the way the 49ers are thinking. The dream scenario for the Browns is to trade Baker Mayfield's guaranteed salary. It's $18.8 million. They don't want to pay it. If they trade him to the 49ers for Jimmy Garoppolo who is scheduled to make $24.2 million base salary plus some bonuses, that's a win for the 49ers in the sense that they save a little bit of money, but it's a huge win for the Browns because it's all base salary for Jimmy Garoppolo, and what the Browns could do is turn around and cut him, and they'd get away from all $18.8 million of guaranteed salary. The 49ers are interesting because they do have a benefit from this standpoint. Baker Mayfield could easily step in and be the backup. There is no controversy there, because even though he has had success, there's no baked-in expectation with him (to play). If Trey Lance wacks his thumb or something, you have Baker Mayfield who can step in for a few weeks."

ME: Would the 49ers have to take back Mayfield in order to offload Garoppolo to Cleveland?

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PS: "Yes. Look, Deshaun Watson's cap number is not a big deal, but the Browns are literally giving him $45 million in cash this year, and they are literally giving Mayfield $18.8 million cash money. Are they going to turn around and spend $24.2 million on another guy? It's not impossible, because Jimmy Haslem is doing quite well for himself, but that's a lot of money. And if Watson is out for the season, maybe Garoppolo gets you to the playoffs, but if you look at the AFC, is he better than any of the quarterbacks on the teams that are serious?"

ME: The more we talk about this, the more it seems like it's not going to happen.

PS: "Has the 49ers' GM ever won a trade? If I were in his position and I wanted to win a trade, I would make sure that the Browns included a sweetener in the form of a third-round pick. At that point, you can say, 'I'm saving some money.' Obviously, they could cut Garoppolo and get a whole lot of money back, but they also want to have a quarterback. They can at least say, 'We have an asset that we got back in this.' The most reasonable course of action would be to trade for Garoppolo and then turning around and cutting him for the sake of saving that $18.8 million. And then he gets to go wherever he wants, which is a great thing for him, but it's entirely a bookkeeping thing for the Browns. The whole thing for both of these teams is bookkeeping.

"And this might be the other angle the 49ers play at. Maybe they'll say, 'If you take half of Mayfield's salary and make him $9 million for us, at that point it becomes attractive.' At least at that point your quarterback room is still inexpensive as a whole."

I still would say cut Garoppolo. You can watch the full interview below.