Jimmy Garoppolo: 3 creative trades 49ers could still engineer before Week 1

San Francisco 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo (10) Mandatory Credit: Orlando Ramirez-USA TODAY Sports
San Francisco 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo (10) Mandatory Credit: Orlando Ramirez-USA TODAY Sports /
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Jimmy Garoppolo, Baker Mayfield, 49ers, Browns
Jimmy Garoppolo #10 of the San Francisco 49ers hugs Baker Mayfield #6 of the Cleveland Browns (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images) /

Jimmy Garoppolo trade No. 3: Swapping for Browns QB Baker Mayfield

San Francisco isn’t the only team trying to trade its quarterback. The Cleveland Browns, in the wake of acquiring former Houston Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson, effectively alienated their soon-to-be former starter, Baker Mayfield, and he’s now on the trade block, possibly diluting the market that otherwise would have existed for Jimmy Garoppolo.

Even if Watson ends up being suspended for all of 2022 (or longer) in light of off-field alleged sexual misconduct, Cleveland turning back to Mayfield seems unlikely.

So, what about a straight-up trade for the two?

As crazy as this sounds, there is some merit to it.

For some backdrop, Sports Illustrated’s Grant Cohn spoke with Pete Smith of FanNation’s Browns Digest on the idea, and Smith brought up some interesting points, including this:

"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 Niners do benefit by clearing $5.4 million in much-needed salary-cap space, and they’d answer the question about having an adequate backup for Trey Lance. Mayfield is a vastly superior option over San Francisco’s other options under center, Nate Sudfeld and Brock Purdy, should Lance either flame out or be lost to an injury for an extended period of time.

Unlike retaining Garoppolo, though, there wouldn’t be any sort of bona fide quarterback controversy with Mayfield in direct support of Lance this season.

Although it sure would be provocative to see Mayfield and EDGE Nick Bosa on the same team.