Last year, the San Francisco 49ers acquired a franchise quarterback in Jimmy Garoppolo from the New England Patriots in exchange for a second-round pick. Throughout the season, Garoppolo lived up to the hype, and the team rewarded him on Thursday by signing him to a five-year deal worth $137.5 million dollars. This deal makes him the highest paid player in NFL history based on average salary per year. With Garoppolo locked up, the question now is whether he deserves the payday.
In six games last season, Garoppolo threw for 1,560 yards, 7 touchdowns, 5 interceptions, and finished with a passer rating of 96.3. Before Garoppolo stepped on the field, the 49ers had Brian Hoyer and C.J. Beathard splitting time as the starting quarterback, and for a majority of the season, neither could move the ball downfield.
Ever since coming out of college, Garoppolo has proven that he has a lot of potential to become a franchise quarterback in the NFL. With his ability to throw the ball downfield and remain poised in the pocket, I’m not shocked that San Francisco overpaid for him.
In the last year of his four-year rookie deal, Garoppolo was still in New England at the time and asking for an extension, along with the starting job. With Tom Brady planning to play for a few more years, the Patriots did the right thing by trading him for a second-round pick, rather than letting him walk in free agency with no return value.
In the last few years, we’ve witnessed young and inexperienced starting quarterbacks see their fair share of misled hype, and that can be proven with Brock Osweiler. In his first stint in Denver, Osweiler played amazing by filling in for Peyton Manning. In the offseason, the Houston Texans signed Osweiler to a four-year, $74 million contract, which turned out to be a huge mistake.
One problem critics have with Garoppolo is his lack of playing experience, due to the fact that since 2014, he only played in 24 games. During that stretch, he has still proven to have the tools to become a franchise quarterback.
The 49ers were forced to lock Garoppolo up as soon as they possibly could to prevent him from leaving during free agency. The front office could have placed Garroppolo under a franchise tag to let him prove himself next year, but investing in Garoppolo during his prime isn’t something we can fault San Francisco for.
Quarterbacks who have proven themselves as elite talent are often handed contracts well worth over $100 million. Quarterbacks such as Drew Brees, Aaron Rodgers and even Matthew Stafford come to mind, as Garoppoolo will truly be put to the test on whether he belongs in that same sentence.
At the end of the day, Garoppolo did deserve a long-term deal, but in my eyes, San Francisco overpaid for him. The team would have been fine with offering $70-80 million dollars, but $137.5 million dollars seems excessive. This is the type of contract that will take a few years to determine if it was a bust move or not, but if Garoppolo proves himself worthy of every cent, this will prove to be a great investment for San Francisco.
Photo Credit Tony Avelar/Associated Press
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