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NFL Rumors: Jimmy Garoppolo Was 'Absolutely' Expected to Interest Browns If Released

Erin WalshSeptember 20, 2022

Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images

Given Trey Lance's injury, the San Francisco 49ers should be ecstatic that they never released or traded Jimmy Garoppolo during the offseason. However, the decision to keep him on board may have spoiled the plans of another franchise.

The Cleveland Browns were "absolutely" expected to show interest in signing Garoppolo had he become a free agent, according to ESPN's Tim Keown and Nick Wagoner.

Garoppolo and the 49ers agreed to a restructured contract in August to keep him in San Francisco for the 2022 campaign. The one-year deal is worth $6.5 million in fully guaranteed base salary and could be worth up to $16 million with roster and playtime bonuses.

Lance began the season as San Francisco's starting quarterback, but he suffered an ankle injury in Week 2 that required season-ending surgery, forcing the Niners to turn to Garoppolo.

In relief of Lance in Week 2, Garoppolo led the 49ers to a 27-7 victory over the Seattle Seahawks. He completed 13 of 21 passes for 154 yards and one touchdown in addition to rushing for five yards and a score.

Garoppolo would have been the perfect stand-in for Deshaun Watson, who was suspended for the first 11 games of the 2023 campaign and fined $5 million for violating the NFL's personal conduct policy following sexual misconduct allegations.

With Garoppolo unavailable and Watson suspended, the Browns have been forced to turn to Jacoby Brissett, whom they signed back in March. The veteran backup led Cleveland to a Week 1 win over the Carolina Panthers, though the team fell to the New York Jets in Week 2 by one point.

Despite the 1-1 record, Brissett has been solid through the first two games of the season, completing 65.6 percent of his passes for 376 yards, two touchdowns and one interception. He has also rushed for 53 yards.

The Browns are set to face a division rival in the Pittsburgh Steelers on Thursday. They will take sole possession of first place in the AFC North with a win.

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