A franchise quarterback landed in the lap of the San Francisco 49ers. General manager John Lynch was not going to let him get away.
The 49ers announced that they signed Jimmy Garoppolo to a five-year contract extension. The deal is worth $137.5 million, NFL Network’s Mike Garafolo reported, per a source informed of the decision. The deal is the largest in NFL history on an average-per-year basis.
Matthew Stafford previously held the high-water mark at $27 million per year. Garoppolo’s deal will average $27.5 million. That number likely will be topped by Kirk Cousins, Aaron Rodgers and others down the line.
Garoppolo seems pretty happy about the development:
San Francisco acquired Garoppolo in October from the New England Patriots for a 2018 second-round pick. The quarterback was in the final year of his rookie deal. The new contract helps the Niners avoid using the franchise tag on Garoppolo.
After his arrival in San Francisco, Tom Brady‘s former backup transformed a downtrodden, one-win team into a streaking goliath. The 49ers went 5-0 in Garoppolo’s starts, the longest active regular-season winning streak in the NFL. The former second-round pick has never lost an NFL start.
In just seven career starts, Garoppolo has displayed unequivocally he’s a franchise quarterback. Now he’ll be paid like one.
Down the stretch of the season, Jimmy G elevated every player on the 49ers‘ roster. His pinpoint ball placement allowed previously third-fiddle receivers to morph into dangerous weapons. His quick trigger and ability to throw off his back foot aided a banged-up offensive line. His talent for moving the ball kept the 49ers‘ porous defense off the field and in positive situations.
In his first three games starting for the 49ers, Garoppolo led just one three-and-out punt. San Francisco scored on a whopping 62 percent of Jimmy G’s drives this season — for perspective, the Patriots were second at 51 percent.
Since he entered the NFL in 2014, Garoppolo has completed 67.3 percent of his passes (4th-highest, min. 250 attempts) with an 8.3 yards per attempt average (first) and a 99.7 passer rating (fifth).
Garoppolo’s physical brilliance is matched by his mental acumen and leadership qualities demanded of a franchise quarterback. In case you doubt Jimmy G, please take a refresher course:
Those questioning the small sample size or the lack of touchdowns (7 TDs, 5 INTs) are either not watching Garoppolo play or forgetting that the 49ers owned a dead-on-arrival offense before he entered the lineup. The 49ers scored 28.8 points per game under Garoppolo; they scored 17 points per tilt in games he did not start in 2017.
Garoppolo immediately morphed the 49ers into one of the most enjoyable teams to watch down the stretch. He had Niners players espousing comparisons to Tom Brady, and giddily talking about his “different aura.” More importantly, his arrival in San Francisco made playing hella more fun for his teammates.
Garoppolo’s leadership and talent caused the greatest coach in NFL history, Bill Belichick, to balk at getting rid of the quarterback before he absolutely had to make a move. As colleague Chris Wesseling eloquently detailed, Belichick envisioned Jimmy G as the perfect post-Brady quarterback. Only TB12 stiff-arming Father Time caused a ripple in that plan.
“When you find the right guy at that position, it’s really good for your franchise,” Lynch said last month from the Senior Bowl. “We believe we’ve found the right guy.”
The 49ers found their quarterback and gladly paid to keep him around.
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