Jimmy Garoppolo's Deal Looks Like a Steal for 49ers
Jose Luis Sanchez III
Patrick Mahomes' $503 million extension with the Chiefs shook the football world to its core. Never in the league's history has there been such a deal struck. Mahomes goes from one of the lowest-paid quarterbacks to the highest-paid quarterback in the league.
While most had their thoughts on how earth shattering the extension was, I couldn't help but think to myself about Jimmy Garoppolo's deal with the 49ers. It was only two years ago that he locked himself in with San Francisco for five-years, $137.5 million.
When this deal was reported, it took everyone by storm. I mean, Garoppolo had only started five games for the 49ers and never started a season from beginning to end. Yet all of a sudden he was being paid as a top-five quarterback.
Clearly, the 49ers knew what they saw in Garoppolo and the future of the quarterback market. Garoppolo isn't even in the top 10 anymore. And with every new quarterback deal being made, it just makes his deal cheaper and cheaper.
Garoppolo's deal now looks like a steal for the 49ers.
They locked in their franchise quarterback, who still hasn't reached his ceiling yet, at the perfect time. When the 49ers and Garoppolo struck their deal, that was when the cost for a quarterback was rising significantly. Cash was getting thrown at these guys like it was nothing. You didn't even need to be an elite quarterback, just an adequate one.
That is because the process of finding just a good quarterback isn't too common. Teams would rather tie themselves to a good one than to continue an endless search.
It was and still is the nature of the business since quarterback is the most influential position in football. With Garoppolo, there is still hope that he can ascend and become an improved player. If he is able to build upon himself, then the 49ers will continue to look brilliant for their deal with him.
Signing a quarterback to an initial high-priced deal is like buying a new car from the dealership. The car immediately diminishes in value as soon as it is driven off of the lot. A quarterback's deal immediately looks cheap as soon as it is inked. There will always be another quarterback to topple the other.
That is why Dak Preskott and Deshaun Watson have been playing the long game with their contracts. Once these two players finalize their deals in the future, then Garoppolo will be around the top-15 in highest paid quarterbacks. All while the 49ers are still in Super Bowl contention.
Or will they?
So many people assume that the 49ers will continue to be Super Bowl contenders for the foreseeable, and rightfully so. However, my editor Grant Cohn has been raising fair and interesting points in the last week. Quarterbacks that absorb around 14% of the salary-cap never equates to a championship.
The last quarterback that ever won a Super Bowl close to 14% was Steve Young in 1994 (13.1%). Garoppolo takes up 12.9% this year, then trickles down to 12.5% in 2021 and 11.9% in 2022. So by this logic, Garoppolo will need to turn into a true top-10 quarterback.
I do envision strides of improvement for him next season, especially since this is his first offseason where he can do so. For a team with limited cap space, the 49ers can look like geniuses and insane at the same time.
They locked up Garoppolo to a deal that is below market value, but can potentially restrict themselves from maintaining dominance because of it.