Posted on February 8, 2018, by Travis Pulver
When the San Francisco 49ers made an in-season trade for New England Patriots quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo, the football-loving free world assumed he would be the quarterback of the future for the 49ers. Then he played five games, won all five, and looked great in the process.
So, the 49ers decided to make it official—and in style.
According to the NFL Network’s Mike Garafolo, the 49ers and Garoppolo have agreed to a five-year contract extension worth $137.5 million. At an average of $27.5 million, he becomes the new highest paid player in NFL history.
Sign up for a FREE Trial Consultation to start working with Legendary Sports Bettor Jon Price
The deal is said to come with $74 million guaranteed, according to Matt Maiocco of NBC Sports Bay Area. So, while he overtakes Matthew Stafford as the highest paid player in the league, Stafford received more guaranteed money ($92 million) as did Andrew Luck ($87 million).
The chances are good that he will not remain the highest paid player for long. Kirk Cousins is expected to be well compensated. If Cousins doesn’t set the new mark, Drew Brees, Aaron Rodgers, and Matt Ryan will likely do so.
Teams typically like to be convinced what they see is not just an extraordinary run of good luck, but what they can expect from a player on a year-to-year basis. To do so typically takes three or four years of continuously good play—not five games.
To be fair, they were extraordinarily good games for Garoppolo. In all five, he completed between 60.6 and 72.1 percent of his passes for at least 242 yards (had two 300+ yard games). He had five interceptions in those games but also threw seven touchdown passes.
But what makes his numbers really impressive is that he did so with no significant preparation. He didn’t have time to learn Kyle Shanahan’s system or establish a relationship with his receivers. So, after doing so, it is not hard to imagine him playing even better.
Before his acquisition and eventual insertion into the lineup, the 49ers were 1-10, and the offense had looked pretty stagnant. With him starting, they went undefeated. They also took down three playoff teams– Tennessee Titans, Jacksonville Jaguars, and Los Angeles Rams.
All it cost was a second-round pick.
But $74 million guaranteed for a guy they’ve only seen play five games? Seems a little high, right? Didn’t they learn anything from when they overpaid the last guy they thought was the quarterback of the future?
Maybe, but they did so enough from Garoppolo to think he could be a top-level quarterback. But defenses didn’t really have much tape of him to watch before the five games he played in. By the time next season rolls around, the other teams in the NFC West will have dissected those games. They’ll have a few adjustments figured out.
But if the 49ers didn’t pay him like a top-tier quarterback, someone else would have. With the amount they have guaranteed, they are essentially telling him he has three years to prove he’s worth the other $63.5 million.