PFT 2019 storyline No. 22: Will Jimmy Garoppolo begin earning his contract?

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The 49ers surprisingly traded for quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo during the 2017 NFL season. Even more surprisingly, Garoppolo performed incredibly well during the final weeks of his first year in San Francisco, leading the team to five wins in five starts.

Although Garoppolo threw five interceptions against only six touchdown passes in those five starts, Garoppolo completed more than 67 percent of his passes, and he averaged 8.8 yards per pass.

It was enough to persuade the 49ers to make Garoppolo the highest-paid player in league history, at least for a couple of weeks. Five years, $137.5 million. An average of $27.5 million per year.

The contract and the performance resulted in heightened expectations for the team and for the player in 2018. Week One at Minnesota went poorly (45.1 passer rating in a 24-16 loss), and Week Two against the Lions went well (118.4 passer rating in a 30-24 win).

Then came Week Three. With the 49ers trailing the Chiefs in the second half, and with Garoppolo and the San Fran offense trying to make something happen, the quarterback ran toward the left sideline and, instead of running out of bounds, he cut back in to deliver a hit.

At first glance, it seemed that Garoppolo had blown out his shoulder. Instead, the ACL in his left leg had ruptured, and Garoppolo’s season was over.

Garoppolo is still recovering from the injury, with limited work during offseason workouts. He recently admitted that time will tell regarding where he currently is.

“I think once the bullets start flying and everything, then we’ll really see,” Garoppolo said.

Yes we will. And there’s a chance the 49ers won’t like what they see. If they don’t, it won’t be difficult for the 49ers to move on.

Despite the huge numbers, the structure of the deal allows the 49ers to decide by April 1, 2020 to move on from Garoppolo, at a cap charge of only $4.2 million. Although they will have paid Garoppolo $60.55 million for two years, the question (if this year doesn’t go well) will be whether to throw good money (to the tune of another $25.2 million) after bad.

Some teams will compound a mistake with more mistakes, for fear of admitting their mistake. Other teams will avoid making their first mistake worse, and they’ll move on when they can.

So what will the 49ers do, if the Garoppolo deal after two years looks like a mistake? With coach Kyle Shanahan and G.M. John Lynch entering the third year of six-year, fully-guaranteed, no-offset contracts, they may feel compelled to roll the dice in a different direction after 2019, as their buyouts continue to shrink.

If Garoppolo begins earning the contract, it won’t matter. If he’s going to earn the deal, it needs to happen in 2019.

62 responses to “PFT 2019 storyline No. 22: Will Jimmy Garoppolo begin earning his contract?

  1. 5 wins in garbage time during which he threw 5 INTs vs 6 TDs and somehow he is the second coming of TB12?

    I’d bet anybody anything that SF doesn’t make the playoffs this year.

  2. There are very few instances in the NFL where a contract works in favor of the player.

    Owners always make out. This isn’t
    baseball

  3. So the premise is that a guy who is injured working hard is not earning his contract? LOL! I’d say if you sacrifice your health, you are earning the contract. Was it a wise gamble? Of course not!

    Contract performance is about more than on-field stats. Its about bringing a winning attitude, motivating your teammates, and helping your team play better. He’s earning his contract now in other ways.

  4. The next time an NFL QB returns to full form in the next season after a torn ACL, will be the first time. We haven’t ever seen that before, so there is no grounds for expecting it to happen.

  5. My prediction:

    Jimmy Garropolo, Jacoby Brissett, and Jarrett Stidham will have intense training camp/pre-season battles in 2020, 2021, and 2022 for the backup QB position on the New England Patriots behind Tom Brady, the Greatest NFL Player of All-Time.

    🙂

  6. 5 wins in garbage time during which he threw 5 INTs vs 6 TDs and somehow he is the second coming of TB12?
    —-
    Lame. Who is saying he’s “the second coming of TB12?” You?

    That’s just a lame comment that is looking for “likes”
    Suggest that something ridiculously extreme is being said (With no proof of anyone saying it) and discount it so people will like the comment.

    Try harder.

  7. Jummy G appears to have a to have a lot of talent, but to paraphrase Chuck Noll…you can’t help the club in the tub!

  8. Why do you always go negative when there’s even a sniff of the Patriots, Mike? The 49rs fans deserve to feel really good about things for a change. And then this?

  9. Looks to me like Jimmy Garoppolo is Matt Cassel version 2.0.

    I’m certainly not a Pats fan but I greatly admire Bill Belichick and I’m convinced that if Belichick had thought Garoppolo was a franchise-type QB he would’ve kept him.

  10. So which is it? Garrapolo was the darling of the NFL when he was on the Pats. Brady’s heir…now he’s over-paid because he blew out his knee? Slow offseason. Yawn. Another brain buster from Mr. Shrimpy.

  11. QBs who play for Belichick benefit from his schemes. He’s the zen master. Once they leave they turn back into mortals.

  12. Just about every Patriots fan will be rooting for the guy. Jimmy G will do well, he just needs to stay healthy and be given a clean pocket.

  13. “Patriot1 says:
    July 2, 2019 at 8:46 am
    There are very few instances in the NFL where a contract works in favor of the player.
    Owners always make out. This isn’t baseball”

    Like that Antonio Brown contract with the Steelers.

  14. Those last 5 games were against teams in the playoff hunt or playing for seeding with exception of the rams to close the season. People who’d like to forget that the niners set a record for consecutive games lost within 5 points with CJ Beathard leading the way. The team over the past two years has been ravaged by injuries to their starters, while lynch and shanahan completely overhauled an inherently terrible roster.

    Stats and figures are very misleading, as last season opening in Minnesota was a very close game, not for some rookie mistakes of dropped passes. The eye test shows his skills and we’re very happy to have him. Having said that, I agree with the premise of the article in that he has to stay healthy. He’s already shown that he can perform well.

  15. factschecker says:
    July 2, 2019 at 8:57 am
    5 wins in garbage time during which he threw 5 INTs vs 6 TDs and somehow he is the second coming of TB12?
    —-
    Lame. Who is saying he’s “the second coming of TB12?” You?

    That’s just a lame comment that is looking for “likes”
    Suggest that something ridiculously extreme is being said (With no proof of anyone saying it) and discount it so people will like the comment.

    Try harder.

    ——-

    So lame. Try researching sports writers during the time denoted.

    Try smarter.

  16. Remember that Flynn guy traded to save the Seahawks? What was his first name anyway? Where is he now, hanging out with Matt Cassell? Jimmy has proven nothing, but that some GMs will try anything with somebody else’s money.

  17. “Owners always make out. This isn’t
    baseball”

    Soooo……how is getting paid 60 million dollars for 2 years not “making out” for Garappolo? Even if they cut him at the end of the year he’ll get at least back up money somewhere, already made a decent stack of money with the Pats, and he’s set for life and can do whatever he wants if he never plays another down after this year.

    Sounds like he “made out” pretty nicely to me.

  18. When BB spends every day with you, training you, where he had only done that with Brady on the fly in 2001 and Cassel in 2008, the results are clear.

    The key is how John Lynch will build around Garroppolo like the OL and not getting him killed.

    We shall see, but he has the nice skill set. HIgh IQ, quick, accurate release, etc.

    But, thanks for Trent Brown! lmao

  19. redlikethepig says:
    July 2, 2019 at 9:17 am
    QBs who play for Belichick benefit from his schemes. He’s the zen master. Once they leave they turn back into mortals.

    9 8 Rate This

    ——————–

    Not true. Cassel was a Pro Bowler in 2010 with the Chiefs with Charlie Weis calling the plays. It’s about continuity, good support and growth.

    It’s like when Alex Smith had 7 different OCs in his first 7 years. SF let him down. SF fans best hope Lynch doesn’t let Garoppolo down.

  20. If he stays healthy, he has a chance to help his team win the division or at least finish in second place, ahead of Seattle in the standings. Just because a quarterback is paid the most money does not mean that he is the best. We will find out whether Russell Wilson will be able to justify his new contract shortly (pun intended). We know that Joe Flecko never earned the money he got paid after winning the Super Bowl. That is for sure.

  21. If he wins 5 games, he should hold out for more money. If his current career is worth 27.5 million per, then 5 more wins should be worth 40 million per.

  22. A quarterback is ultimately paid to win games. As far as win-loss record goes, Jimmy G. has a better win-loss record than Kirk Cousins. Even though he may not amass the same win-loss record he has over multiple 16 game seasons, he at least has justified his pay more than Kirk Cousins has.

  23. “Week Two against the Lions went well”

    Hmmm he was good the first three quarters then he threw a horrific, amateur-like pick-six but was fortunately saved by a defensive holding call against Kittle on the opposite side of the field. The pick was by a rookie no less and it looked like Jimmy G was totally fooled on the play and never saw the safety. They should have lost that game.

    I think this guys still has a ton to prove.

  24. So, he had one bad game and one good game and then gets injured. Well obviously he needs to go…

  25. californianewton says:
    July 2, 2019 at 11:08 am
    If he stays healthy, he has a chance to help his team win the division or at least finish in second place, ahead of Seattle in the standings. Just because a quarterback is paid the most money does not mean that he is the best. We will find out whether Russell Wilson will be able to justify his new contract shortly (pun intended). We know that Joe Flecko never earned the money he got paid after winning the Super Bowl. That is for sure.
    ===========================

    Wilson has earned every dime he has made to date and paying him the big bucks based on his health and consistency was a no brainer.

    Jimmy got paid off of a verrry small body of work and now will have health concerns following him around going forward.

    Comparing JG to Russell Wilson is laughable on every level. One has an established body of work playing at an elite level. The other is more known for banging an adult film star than anything else.

  26. I’m not a believer in Jimmy Garoppolo. I believe he is a high-end #2QB masquerading as a QB1, Bill Belicheck would of never let a QB1 get away who he truly believed in for just pennies on the dollar. Belicheck has a history of getting great return out of his backup QB’s trading them to teams desperate for a starter, look at the Matt Cassell trade and he actually produced for a season or two making a Pro Bowl at least before that house of cards fell apart. Against good defense’s he has really struggled and will force passes straight into coverage if you can get after him and rattle his cage a bit, look what he did against the Vikings throwing some horrific passes which was the one very good defense he faced last season. Garoppolo has a 3.1% Interception rate in San Francisco which is extremely high and turns the ball over way to much due to forcing passes and not seeing the coverage correctly.
    On top of just not being all that good Jimmy G is also extremely injury prone, he is Sam Bradford 2.0. In 10 career starts this guy has 3 different , two of them were serious injuries. Against Rob Ryan and the Dolphins he was badly rattled and hurt his shoulder but wasn’t pulled from the game, he then hurt the other shoulder a few weeks later which ended up sidelining him for months. In SF last year he tore his ACL. I mean 3 injuries in 10 career starts isn’t a coincidence or a fluke that’s a pattern and a very disturbing one for SF. With all of the good pass rushers Jimmy G will face this season I believe it’s just a matter of time before he’s hurt again this next season, I mean look at the pass rushers in this division alone along with some of the best corners in the league residing in that division.
    I’d bet money that the 49ers internally are worrying they made a massive mistake giving Garoppolo the kind of money they did, once he fails this season they are going to be forced to admit it publically and cut ties with Jimmy G. Looking at all the QB’s the 49ers passed on over the last few years believing they had “there guy” passing on the likes of Patrick Mahomes, DeShaun Watson, Mitchell Trubisky, could of traded up for Sam Darnold, Josh Allen, Josh Rosen, Daniel Jones in this last class all could of been had. Missing on all those QB’s is going to cost somebody their job, Shanahan will get another year or two if Jimmy doesn’t work out but John Lynch would likely be toast because someones head is going to roll paying for this.

  27. californianewton says:
    July 2, 2019 at 11:12 am

    A quarterback is ultimately paid to win games. As far as win-loss record goes, Jimmy G. has a better win-loss record than Kirk Cousins. Even though he may not amass the same win-loss record he has over multiple 16 game seasons, he at least has justified his pay more than Kirk Cousins has.
    ___________

    Jimmy G. started 7 games and then got paid. Since then, he’s 1-2.

    Cousins started 57 games and got an average of $500,000 more than Garoppolo per year. Since then, he’s 8-7-1.

    Neither player has justified his pay in any way. But Cousins has done infinitely more in his career than Garoppolo has. I’d say Cousins’ contract is justified if you compare it to Garoppolo’s contract.

  28. Idiotic analysis. They should maybe do at least a little research.

    (1) in 2017 he played 5 playoff teams, only the Rams were benching players.
    (2) The Titans and Jags were fighting for playoff position and playing full effort, both lost.
    (3) The Jags had the best Defense in the NFL and the Niners dropped a 40-burger on them, most of any team all season.
    (4) The Niners in those 5 weeks had the most yards per possession in the NFL and it wasn’t even close. THIS is the most important metric of an offense followed by points in the red zone. Who cares if they ran the ball in instead of passing TDs.
    (5) He’s talked about because of his quick release, quick reads to second and third receivers, ability to move around the pocket and lead the team.

    I am yet to see a QB come off an ACL tear destroy the league, if the 49ers are top 8 in yards per drive I’ll be happy. Shanahan is going to make anyone look good and a 75% Jimmy can look good. 2020 if he’s not top 7 in the league, he was a waste.

  29. When will people get that the Pats had no choice but to trade JG. It wasn’t about Brady or Kraft. It was a cap thing. They drafted JG too early, and Brady kept lighting it up. JG will be a top 10 QB

  30. JG showed more than enough for the 49ers to take their shot. More than Shaub or Hasselbeck. If you offer me Cousins for JG, no chance. Not injury prone, hurt trying to run and make plays. Lesson learned.

  31. The 49ers definitely took a gamble giving Jimmy G all that money with his injury history. There were even moments in that offense that Nick Mullens looked like a super star. Garoppolo is much more talented but he couldn’t stay healthy in 2 games with the Patriots when Brady was out.

    Realistically he is the 3rd ranked QB in the division and if the hype on the first overall pick is warranted that may even be up for grabs if he doesn’t put together a season. John Lynch’s seat would be smoking hot if he doesn’t.

  32. Best thing for him is to get injured again and ride off into the sunset with the $60.55 million for doing virtually nothing. What a country.

  33. paythevig says:
    July 2, 2019 at 10:16 am
    Those last 5 games were against teams in the playoff hunt or playing for seeding with exception of the rams to close the season. People who’d like to forget that the niners set a record for consecutive games lost within 5 points with CJ Beathard leading the way. The team over the past two years has been ravaged by injuries to their starters, while lynch and shanahan completely overhauled an inherently terrible roster.

    Stats and figures are very misleading, as last season opening in Minnesota was a very close game, not for some rookie mistakes of dropped passes. The eye test shows his skills and we’re very happy to have him. Having said that, I agree with the premise of the article in that he has to stay healthy. He’s already shown that he can perform well.

    23 7 Rate This
    ————————————————-

    That game was not that close at all and Jimmy G was directly responsible for throwing them out of that game. Garoppolo kept throwing into double coverage and making horrible decisions all game long, he threw 3 picks and should of had 2-3 more picked off completing just 45% of his passes for 0TDs-3INTs w/ a 45.1 QB Passer Rating. Jimmy G takes WAYYYY to many sacks holding onto the ball for seemingly ever, in his 3 starts before he went down injured once again last season he was sacked 13 freaking times, 13. Nick Mullens gets the ball out and see’s the field much better than Jimmy G does and was sacked just 17 times in 8 games.
    In fact I believe Nick Mullens is a better QB than Jimmy G is Mullen’s just doesnt have the arm strength Garoppolo does or he’d be a starting QB. Go look at Mullens stats they’re actually much better than Jimmy G’s were last season w/ Mullens completing way more of his passes ( 64.2% to Jimmys 59.6%) , Mullen’s threw for more YDs/Attempt throwing for 8.3 Y/A to Jimmy’s 8.1 Y/A, Mullens threw for WAY more Yards per game throwing for 285PYPG to Jimmy’s 239PYPG, their TD/INT ratio’s are very very close as Mullens to has a problem turning the ball over due to his weak arm throwing 13TDs-10INTs w/ a 3.6% INT rate to Jimmy’s 3.4% INT rate with similar passer ratings as Mullens threw for a QB Passer rating of 90.8 to Jimmy G’s 90.9 and Mullen’s posted a higher PFF Grade posting a 64 to Jimmy G’s 62. Essentially the 49ers UDFA QB who makes pennies on the dollar compared to what Jimmy G is making IS THE BETTER QB of the two, if you’re a 49ers fan that’s got to hurt especially since Mullens isnt a guy you want to start long term due to his arm strength leading to wayy to many turnovers that will cost the team to many wins if he starts weekly. Jimmy G simply isn’t all that good, period.

  34. hawks49 says:
    July 2, 2019 at 12:47 pm
    Idiotic analysis. They should maybe do at least a little research.

    (1) in 2017 he played 5 playoff teams, only the Rams were benching players.
    (2) The Titans and Jags were fighting for playoff position and playing full effort, both lost.
    (3) The Jags had the best Defense in the NFL and the Niners dropped a 40-burger on them, most of any team all season.
    (4) The Niners in those 5 weeks had the most yards per possession in the NFL and it wasn’t even close. THIS is the most important metric of an offense followed by points in the red zone. Who cares if they ran the ball in instead of passing TDs.
    (5) He’s talked about because of his quick release, quick reads to second and third receivers, ability to move around the pocket and lead the team.

    I am yet to see a QB come off an ACL tear destroy the league, if the 49ers are top 8 in yards per drive I’ll be happy. Shanahan is going to make anyone look good and a 75% Jimmy can look good. 2020 if he’s not top 7 in the league, he was a waste.

    ==========================================

    The Jaguars defense went thru a slump and was not good toward the end of the 2017 season, just for context Blaine Gabbert also beat them as the starting backup QB for Arizona and not only beat them but carved them up throwing for 240YDs 2TDs and 1INT, no defense that lets Blaine Gabbert of all QB’s do that to them is a top defense. The HOU Texans were not good at all that year and were really struggling toward the end of 2017, Chicago under John Fox was not that good in 2017 and they were struggling at the time playing a rookie QB while the Rams in week 17 Jimmy G played the Rams backup’s and really struggled to pull out that win against the Rams 2nd string. When you put all that in context in makes Jimmy G’s 5-0 end to 2017 much less impressive.

  35. There is simply not enough data for any of us to make an accurate prediction on how Jimmy G will turn out. He has proven to be injury prone but also to win games. I was at the Jacksonville game and he was very quick and decisive and looked outstanding against a very solid D. The only thing I feel comfortable saying is that Mullens is way better than Beathard and ol’ Shanny better not let his ego get in the way and get rid of the wrong QB this year.

  36. In a word = NO!

    For GQ Jimmy to earn his contract he’d have to put up numbers like Brady, Brees or Rodgers, etc and I’ve never ever in over 50yrs of watching this game seen a QB make an improvement that HUGE! It isn’t HAPPENING!

  37. He’s a 2nd round pick who will end up as a backup at best. He’s proven nothing other than the fact that he’s injury prone and dates call girls. Huge waste by the 9ers who could have used their resources on a legit front line starter. His last wins were against teams with nothing to play for…already clinched and playing their scrubs.

  38. @californianewton
    Lamest comment ever.
    Comparing the winning percentage of a guy who has played 7 total games to someone who played multiple seasons and declaring he then deserves to be paid as much?
    Sheesh. Take a BASIC statistics class before posting again. Thanks for trying….
    Next!

  39. Yup, make every excuse in the book why 5 straight wins are not legit. Here’s an excuse; th 49ers skill players and o-line stunk and he still got the job done. Can’t wait do see the new usernames of the wrong

  40. I was at the game he played in MN last year when healthy, and watched the guy throw 15 completions out of 33 passes with 3 INTs. He sure didn’t look all that special then.

  41. He’s proven NOTHING. Giving him all that money based on his body of work was absolutely foolish on Lynch’s part. Hey, I like the 49ers but this was dumb and it looks like dark days ahead- new GM, QB, etc. and the coach is best known for screwing up the Falcons-Patriots Super Bowl with a 28-3 lead and a first down deep in Patriots territory.

  42. By the way, you don’t blow out your ACL by taking on a safety in the heat of battle, while trying to make a play, have surgery, and go thru almost a yr of rehab and THEN start earning your contract. It’s not like he was on the couch eating bob bons. Or writing a blog.

  43. Concrete proof that literally any QB can succeed in BB’s system and literally every single one of them fails outside of it. That’s why Brady was almost undrafted, definition of a system QB.

  44. A lot of people look like that against the Minnesota defense in the regular season. If it were the playoffs, it’s probably 25/33 with 3 TDs while looking like a world-beater

    purpleguy says:
    July 2, 2019 at 3:30 pm
    I was at the game he played in MN last year when healthy, and watched the guy throw 15 completions out of 33 passes with 3 INTs. He sure didn’t look all that special then.

  45. “Although Garoppolo threw five interceptions against only six touchdown passes in those five starts, Garoppolo completed more than 67 percent of his passes, and he averaged 8.8 yards per pass.”

    —-

    You do realize that isn’t very good right? 6:5 in five starts is not good. The rest is just stats. And you’re talking about a team that despite their record lost a lot of heartbreakers. They were always one mediocre QB away from winning a few.

  46. Concrete proof huh… I guess that means that when Unitas got hurt and morrall stepped in and won the title and MVP it proved the same thing. Or when he stepped in for griese in 72 and went 11-0 (perfect season). How about Scott Mitchell stepping in for Marino, frank Reich for Jim Kelly, Matt Flynn for Rodgers, even dilfer won a Superbowl as a backup. Yeah, but you and your concrete proof that says Brady is a system QB is so hard to disprove.

  47. Forgot about osweiler with Denver when manning got hurt and all the other teams whose starting QB got hurt and their team still won games. It doesn’t even have to be a QB.Look at when star players at any position get hurt and the backups step in.

  48. We’re talking about the 16th highest paid QB (in terms of cap number) in 2019…behind guys like Jameis Winston and Marcus Mariota.

    Everyone’s talking like he’s far and away the highest paid QB in the league. Who would you replace him with, that’s available, that’s won anything in this league? Give the guy a chance to play.

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