QB Jimmy Garoppolo Signs Record NFL Extension with Niners
San Francisco signed QB Jimmy Garoppolo to a five-year contract worth up to $137.5 million, the richest in NFL history. The 49ers acquired Garoppolo in a 2017 mid-season trade with the New England Patriots. He was set to become a free agent this March. The 49ers were 1-10 prior to acquiring Garoppolo and started him the final five games of the year where he went 5-0 after taking over team leadership. He was the leading free agent QB ready to hit the open market in March. The 49ers made him the top paid NFL player only weeks before he become a free agent. His short 5-0 record and excellent performance made him the highest priority for the 49ers who have struggled annually for a return to the NFL playoffs. The 49ers surrendered a second round pick (#47) for the young veteran. He has a perfect 7-0 record as a starter after going 2-0 in his only action as a starter backing up veteran Tom Brady in New England. He was a potential high profile player in a strong free agent market that has seen both Garoppolo and veteran Alex Smith change teams in the past few months. Smith had one year remaining on his contract before signing a new contract with the Washington Redskins for a #3 pick in April and corner Kendall Fuller.
Photo – QB Jimmy Garoppolo – 49ers
The Niners reintroduced Garoppolo to the media and fan base as the NFL’s highest-paid player in terms of average annual value. Both general manager John Lynch and head coach Kyle Shanahan were excited to land a cornerstone QB just entering his prime after a four year playoff drought in San Francisco. They were intent of getting Garoppolo into the fold to address their biggest pending issue this postseason. He signed a five-year extension for $137.5 million, including a record $86.4 million guaranteed in the first three years. The total payout of $42.6 million in the first year if he hits all roster and workouts bonuses ($37 million of which will count against the 2018 salary cap) and $48.7 million fully guaranteed at signing.
His huge deal impacts the league’s remaining free agent QBs, including Kirk Cousins, and three Viking QBs, Case Keenum, Sam Bradford and Teddy Bridgewater. With Garoppolo’s contract a done deal, the 49ers well-positioned to build around him with salary cap space that they can still be aggressive in the free agency market. They hold five top 75 selections in April, including three #3 picks after the trade. They will draft either 9th or 10th overall after the coin flip with the Raiders at the NFL Combine in a few weeks.
“Once we first got Jimmy, we knew exactly how we felt about him,” Shanahan said. “But where we were as a team at that time, where Jimmy was in his situation, I thought it was going to be hard for him to go in there and really get enough time to where he could show us and himself a deal where we would be comfortable. We didn’t really think about it too much because you always had that franchise tag.
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“We knew Jimmy was a guy we wanted here badly. When he did get his opportunity and how he started out versus Chicago then versus Houston, Tennessee to Jacksonville to the Rams, each week kind of got better. The more Jimmy was here, the more comfortable he was, the better he played and I thought the guys around him played better. I think our team got tighter.
“We always felt very strongly about his talent, but when you get to be with a guy for that long and you have that success and the guy is the same every single day, you get a better idea of how he will be long term and how he would be with a bunch of money and things like that. It always starts with talent, but when it comes to things like this, character and who he is as a man is everything.”
With Kirk Cousins expected to be in high demand, Garoppolo’s highest paid NFL designation may be short lived with both the Broncos and Jets expected to be among the top players for the veteran QB who has worked the past three years on one year deals with the Franchise label.