Around this time a year ago, we often found ourselves down a rumor-filled rabbit hole regarding the possibility of quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo — then the New England Patriots backup — becoming the Bears’ next starter.
Little did we know he would be on the brink of breaking the bank:
— Raj Mathai (@rajmathai) February 8, 2018
NBC Bay Area’s Raj Mathai reports the San Francisco 49ers have come to an agreement to make Garoppolo the NFL’s highest-paid player. The move comes a little more than three months after the 49ers dealt a second-round pick to the Patriots at the October 31 trade deadline to acquire Garoppolo. Even though Garoppolo didn’t start immediately for San Francisco, it didn’t take long for him to make an impact.
NFL Network insider Mike Garafolo chimes in with the contract’s details:
The 49ers and QB Jimmy Garoppolo have agreed to a five-year, $137.5 million contract, source says. The biggest deal in NFL history on a average-per-year basis.
— Mike Garafolo (@MikeGarafolo) February 8, 2018
That’s some major coin for a player with limited starting experience, but it speaks to the disproportionate importance of having a quality quarterback in the modern-day NFL (to be sure, the deal may look different when all the final details (specifically, guaranteed money) come out, but still …). In fact, it almost makes you wonder what Mitch Trubisky’s eventual extension will look like if he thrives under Matt Nagy in the next few seasons.
In any case, Garoppolo made his first start against the Bears at Soldier Field and the 49ers emerged with a victory behind five Robbie Gould field goals. The triumph sparked a season-ending five-game winning streak for San Francisco, which has evidently seen enough to entrust Garoppolo as the team’s franchise quarterback.
After taking over for 2017 draft pick CJ Beathard, Garoppolo completed 67.4 percent of his passes, threw more touchdowns (7) than interceptions (5), and posted a 96.2 passer rating. By locking up Garoppolo to a long-term deal, the 49ers bring stability to the quarterback position for the first time since Colin Kaepernick took the league by storm under the watchful eye of Jim Harbaugh. It also keeps San Francisco from having to stick the franchise tag on Garoppolo to keep him on the roster.
Credit the 49ers for waiting out the Garoppolo market and landing a long-term solution at starting quarterback without handing New England the bounty it was originally asking for when Garoppolo was initially put on the market.
The Bears will get a second shot at Garoppolo in 2018 because the 49ers are one of the opponents on Chicago’s schedule for the upcoming season. Hopefully, Mitch Trubisky and his teammates are up for the task.