NFL Rumors: ESPN Insider Suggests Jimmy Garoppolo-Baker Mayfield Swap

Cleveland Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield
Wikimedia | TaurusEmerald

Tristin McKinstry

The San Francisco 49ers and Cleveland Browns have looked to trade their former starting quarterbacks for some time. And yet, both Jimmy Garoppolo and Baker Mayfield remain with their respective teams.

Both teams may very well end up holding on to their signal-callers for differing reasons. However, one ESPN NFL insider has proposed a Garoppolo-Mayfield swap.

Does It Make Sense?

Jimmy Garoppolo during practice while a member of the New England Patriots
Wikimedia | Diddykong1130

The idea was mentioned by ESPN's Jake Trotter a bit offhandedly in a Cleveland Browns roster projection piece. And, at least on paper, the move could work, at least for the teams involved.

The Browns and Niners want to move off their respective quarterbacks and have had trouble finding compensation packages that make a trade worthwhile. The teams would have trouble justifying not trading either signal-caller given the very public trade rumors surrounding both men.

Cleveland and San Francisco could swap the two veteran quarterbacks for each other, and let them play out the final year of their contracts. This would remove any need to justify holding on to players who are known to be on the trade block.

Is It Likely?

Cleveland Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield
Wikimedia | Ser Amantio di Nicolao

Despite there being some logic to a potential move, it is unlikely to happen. The Browns have made progress on a Mayfield trade, nearly moving him to the Carolina Panthers at the 2022 NFL Draft. And the Niners have said their goal is to gain value in a Garoppolo trade. Moving him for Mayfield almost feels like a lateral move.

Besides that, a Garoppolo-Mayfield swap would be a tacit admission that the teams couldn't find value and that interest wasn't as strong as they thought. It'd be a move reeking of desperation, a situation both clubs would like to avoid at all costs. Especially with both players in their walk year.

San Francisco's Situation

Jimmy Garoppolo during a post game interview
Wikimedia | Superbia23

The Niners have been looking to trade Garoppolo since the 2021 NFL Draft. The team traded three first-round picks to the Miami Dolphins for the third overall pick in that draft. They selected North Dakota State's Trey Lance with that selection.

Lance is slated to be the team's quarterback of the future. The 30-year-old Garoppolo has played at a high level, leading the team to an appearance in Super Bowl LIV and in the 2022 NFC Championship Game.

Drama In Cleveland

Cleveland Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield throwing on the run against the Pittsburgh Steelers
Wikimedia | LaDanian1000000

The situation in Cleveland is a lot more complicated. Mayfield, the first overall pick in the 2018 NFL Draft, has been Cleveland's starter since his rookie year. The team acquired Deshaun Watson from the Houston Texans this offseason, ending his spell as the starter at FirstEnergy Stadium.

However, Watson currently faces 24 sexual assault allegations, and while he has settled 20 of those civil suits, he faces a lengthy suspension from the NFL. The Browns could try to hold on to Mayfield, but the 27-year-old has publicly stated that he felt "disrespected" by the Browns, making that situation tricky.