Back in May, Bill Belichick told new 49ers Head Coach Kyle Shanahan that “he wasn’t going to trade [Jimmy].”
Within five months, Garoppolo was on his way to San Francisco in exchange for a second-round draft pick. The compensation was questioned by Patriots fans, but it makes sense when you see the contract numbers teams were going to come at him with as a free agent. It makes no sense for a team to give up a first-round pick, when they are also going to have to pay him top money. And, that’s exactly what happened.
By the end of the season, Garoppolo had proved, at least to GM John Lynch and Shanahan, that he was worth the pay day. The team offered the 26-year old a contract that was worth $137.5 million over five years, $90 million of which would be guaranteed. Garoppolo’s agent, Don Yee, jumped at the opportunity to get his client some stability and money. The contract is the largest given in NFL history, surpassing Lions’ QB Matthew Stafford who inked a $135 million deal just five months ago.
The deal will set numbers for many quarterbacks who are expected to receive big money contracts in the next few seasons. This list includes top-end guys like Drew Brees (2018), Kirk Cousins (2018), and Matt Ryan (2019). Even unproven talents like AJ McCarron (2018), Jameis Winston (2019), and Marcus Mariota (2019) will be able to capitalize after seeing Garoppolo, who’s only started seven games, collect big money.
Furthermore, the NFL franchise tag for quarterbacks is increasing because of Garoppolo’s contract alone. The tag number is determined by the average of the five highest paid QBs. Prior to the signing, any QB who signed a franchise tag would be paid $24.9 million. Because of Garoppolo’s contract (and $37 million cap hit) the franchise tag will now increase to $27.5 million.
With the lack of elite quarterbacks in the NFL, teams have been overpaying QBs left and right. Kirk Cousins, who I’ve said before is good not great, has been franchised each of the last two seasons. Other QBs of that ilk could receive the same treatment, and that’s all thanks to one James Garoppolo.