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With the 2022 NFL Draft just around the corner, most teams have their quarterback situations solved, at least temporarily, entering the new season. And the few still actively looking for help under center may target one of this year’s top prospects. But where does that leave Baker Mayfield and Jimmy Garoppolo, the two remaining big-name veterans perceived to be available?
While Mayfield’s split from the Browns is inevitable after Cleveland’s polarizing blockbuster trade for Deshaun Watson, with CBS Sports NFL insider Jason La Canfora reporting Monday the former No. 1 overall pick could be dealt before the draft, neither he nor Garoppolo is in high demand. With that in mind, here’s an updated look at their respective markets:
Not necessarily. While both Mayfield and Garoppolo are safe bets to play elsewhere in 2022, it’s entirely feasible one — or both — could be released. The former was on shaky terms with Cleveland even before the team finalized a record commitment to the embattled Watson. The Browns aren’t going to pay him the $18.9 million he’s due in 2022 to sit unhappily on the bench, especially after already adding Jacoby Brissett as the backup/emergency starter. So if they can’t find takers, they may well cut him.
The potential Garoppolo outcomes with the 49ers, meanwhile, probably fall in this order: 1.) traded, 2.) kept, 3.) cut. San Francisco can’t keep him at his $26.9M figure and start former first-rounder Trey Lance in 2022, and no matter what, Jimmy G’s shoulder surgery may force them to eat some of his deal to facilitate a move. But he feels more likely than Mayfield to actually return to his current team, even if it’s at a reduced salary and/or playing second fiddle to Lance’s takeover.
Not a whole lot right now. The QB market has largely been inflated this offseason: Seattle netted four picks and three players, including two first-rounders, for Russell Wilson; Houston netted five picks, including three firsts, for Watson; and the Colts essentially got a pair of third-rounders for Carson Wentz. Even so, it’s hard to imagine any team surrendering more than a single mid-round pick, at most, for either Mayfield or Garoppolo.
Mayfield is young (26), with playoff experience, at a reasonable price for a rental and potential long-term starter, but why give up anything of significant value for what amounts to a top-20 placeholder on an expiring contract? Garoppolo, meanwhile, has proven to be slightly safer — an efficient top-15ish starter for playoff contenders — but is older (30), has likely reached his ceiling and is consistently battling injuries. They may have fetched some combo of Day Two and Day Three picks — perhaps a second and fifth, or something along those lines — at the very start of the offseason, but the QB vacancies have filled up.
At this point, the most likely scenario for either QB being dealt is their inclusion in a swap of draft picks. Think the Browns’ Amari Cooper deal, in which Cleveland absorbed the ex-Cowboys wide receiver’s contract in exchange for a fifth-round pick and swap of sixths. Dallas got cap space and a minor token of draft capital; Cleveland got the proven player.
Consider these the only logical or potential suitors at the moment:
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