Harrington Gardiner | Staff Writer
The San Francisco 49ers made a bold statement to the league by signing quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo to a five-year, $137.5 million contract extension.
The newly acquired quarterback was traded from the New England Patriots back in October after he served as a backup for Tom Brady in his first four seasons.
Garoppolo finished the 2017 season with 1,560 yards passing, seven touchdowns and a QBR of 78.2. He played well, but making him the highest-paid player in the league was surprising for someone with seven career starts.
With the quarterback market running thin, GM John Lynch and the Niners got their franchise cornerstone.
In the Patriots’ system that follows the mold of “do your job” and “no days off,” Garoppolo was everything that a team needed in a backup quarterback. Jimmy G had the drive, determination and skill set that was impressive to see out of a backup quarterback who rarely touched the field.
The 49ers were impressed with his ability to flourish in a championship system under legendary Patriots coach Bill Belichick. Garoppolo gained most of his attention when Brady was suspended for the first four games of the 2016 season. In his first four games, he threw for 502 yards, four TDs and had a quarterback rating of 86.0, all while throwing zero interceptions.
San Francisco traded a 2018 second-round pick for Garoppolo, who led the Niners to a five-game winning streak to end the 2017 season. During the winning streak, three of the Niners’ foes were playoff teams. In each of those games, he threw for at least 200 yards.
With Garoppolo starting, success followed in San Fran. The 49ers were one of the most dangerous teams heading toward the end of the season, and a lot of it was due to the play of Garoppolo.
As they will have him for a full season in 2018, are the Niners a dark horse in the NFC?