49ers Make QB Garoppolo NFL’s Highest-Paid Player After 7 Starts. Was It Premature?

There is a Latin saying, “Caveat Emptor,” which means, “Let the buyer beware.”

This might apply to what the San Francisco 49ers did on Thursday.

After just seven-career NFL starts, the 49ers gave QB Jimmy Garoppolo a five-year deal for $137.5 contract, with $74 million guaranteed in the first three years.

The story of the blockbuster contract was broken Raj Mathai of NBC Bay Area.

So after five starts for the 49ers in 2017, and two for the New England Patriots in 2016, Garoppolo is now the NFL’s highest paid player at an average of $27.5 million a season, topping the $27 million-a-year salary of Detroit QB Matthew Stafford.

The man Garoppolo backed-up in New England for four-and-half seasons, Tom Brady, perhaps the NFL’s top QB, makes $20.5 million-a-year; so the understudy is now making $7 million more than the

Knowing they’d have a hard time signing him long-term after the season, the Patriots traded Garoppolo to the 49ers’ for a second-round pick on October 30, 2017.

After sitting Garoppolo for a month so he could learn their system, the QB made his San Francisco debut in Week 13 against Chicago, and he proceeded to lead the 49ers to five straight wins.

But his numbers certainly weren’t gaudy in the five wins, throwing seven touchdowns and five interceptions.

The NFL wayside is rife with quarterbacks who flashed during a stretch of games, but then over the long haul, defensive coordinators figured them out, and the players took a step back, with Robert Griffin III, Colin Kaepernick and Derek Carr being good examples.

It’s clearly risky business to give an NFL quarterback that kind of money based on such a small sample size.

So the 49ers are rolling the dice to a certain degree with his contract, and we will find out over the next couple of years if Garoppolo is for real.

What does Garoppolo bring to the table as a quarterback?

“He has a very quick trigger and good wrist snap that translates to a smooth throwing motion and clean, compact delivery (no windup),” wrote NFL draft guru Nolan Nawrocki, who publishes the nation’s best draft guide. “He has a lightning release quickness. He is athletic enough to slide in the pocket and buy time with his feet while keeping his eyes downfield. He can change ball speeds and drop it in a bucket. He does not take unnecessary sacks and will dump the ball. He is tough-minded and poised in the pocket, and can withstand a hit and pop back up.”

But if Garropolo doesn’t become a superstar in San Francisco, the 49ers are going to withstand a lot of hits from the media and fans.

They are gambling on greatness.

They’re also hoping that Garoppolo can help sell tickets after the 49ers took a hit at the gate the last couple of year, in part, due to National Anthem protests which began with them.

Only time will tell if this huge contract was a good or bad idea.


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