The 49ers have been patient with Jimmy Garoppolo and a would-be trade, and perhaps the Browns and Steelers will come around to make offers finally.
This echoes the Niners’ approach all offseason and in the wake of Garoppolo’s offseason shoulder surgery that apparently put a damper on other trades that were possibly in the works. And while there hasn’t been much of a market for the veteran’s services, perhaps Lynch’s patience could soon pay off.
There’s been no shortage of speculation about where Garoppolo could end up by the team Week 1 rolls around, and this wouldn’t mark the first time both the Cleveland Browns and Pittsburgh Steelers have been mentioned as possible destinations.
But, after the Steelers signed former Chicago Bears and Buffalo Bills quarterback Mitchell Trubisky and then drafted former Pitt signal-caller Kenny Pickett in Round 1 earlier this spring, Pittsburgh seemed to be off the table.
And once the Browns moved on from quarterback Baker Mayfield, trading him to the Carolina Panthers in light of newly acquired quarterback Deshaun Watson’s off-field allegations of sexual misconduct, it appeared Cleveland wasn’t going to be in the running any longer either.
However, the contexts have certainly changed since then.
Steelers losing faith in their QBs, prompting interest in Jimmy Garoppolo?
Multiple reports out of Steelers training camp aren’t exactly shedding a positive light on either Trubisky or Pickett right now, leaving presumed third-string quarterback Mason Rudolph as the only other option.
According to The Athletic’s Mark Kaboly, Trubisky went a whopping 0-of-16 on 7-shot drills during one particular practice, and there haven’t been any glowing signs the former No. 2 overall draft pick is commanding the offense during other sessions either.
Pittsburgh might have balked at trading for Garoppolo earlier this offseason in the wake of Ben Roethlisberger’s retirement, but that has to take into account Jimmy G’s surgery.
And this from NBC Sports Bay Area’s Matt Maiocco has to be viewed as some sort of advertisement, right?
A still-talented Steelers roster, effectively missing a mere-capable quarterback, might be the only way head coach Mike Tomlin’s squad stays competitive enough in a tough AFC North.
Jimmy Garoppolo trade possibility to Browns hinges on Deshaun Watson’s fate… again
Watson is once again headlining reasons why San Francisco might be waiting for the best opportunity to move Jimmy G, not unlike what happened before the Houston Texans traded Watson to Cleveland and again not unlike the context before his initial six-game suspension recommendation amid those aforementioned allegations.
Now, however, the NFL is appealing the original six-game suspension, which could ultimately translate to Watson missing all of 2022. Perhaps even longer.
Should Cleveland be without Watson for all of 2022, it’d be looking squarely at the likelihood of a last-place finish in the AFC North. And considering the Browns still have nearly $49 million in salary-cap space, according to Over the Cap, they’d have the financial resources to make Garoppolo a one-year rental to bide time until Watson’s return.
Unless Cleveland is comfortable with No. 2 quarterback Jacoby Brissett trying to keep them relevant this season.
Would Browns and Steelers get into a Jimmy Garoppolo bidding war?
Neither the Browns nor the Steelers are expected to be top contenders for the AFC North this season, let alone realistic players to represent the conference in the Super Bowl.
Plus, at least with Pittsburgh, it already has a high draft pick invested in Pickett, so his development is going to be vital for the long-term prospects of the franchise.
Related Story: Why these 4 teams won’t trade for Jimmy Garoppolo
Still, the 49ers would love nothing more than these two division rivals getting into some sort of bidding war over Garoppolo’s services. And while Jimmy G certainly wouldn’t be a long-term answer for either team, that alone being a deterrent in itself, one should easily understand why he’d be an upgrade over anything the Steelers have right now or Cleveland would have if Watson is suspended for all of 2022.
All we know now is the outcome of this development is anything but determined and will likely heat up in the very near future.