When a big deal like what the San Francisco 49ers signed quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo to comes out, obviously a lot are quick to criticize and argue against it. Most of the skepticism is warranted, Garoppolo had only seven starts under his belt before inking the largest contract in NFL history. Guess who else was in a situation like this?
Aaron Rodgers. Having sat behind Brett Favre for a number of years, Rodgers took the starting gig with the Packers in 2008 and ripped the field apart in seven starts. Then he signed an extension. It wasn’t the largest in 2008, rather it was seen as a team-friendly deal, but it was a nice chunk of money at $65 million.
Rodgers numbers in those seven games: 1,668 yards, a 65.6 percent completion percentage, 12 touchdowns to four interceptions and a passer rating of 98.8.
Garoppolo’s numbers: 2,062 yards , a completion percentage of 67.6, 11 touchdowns vs five interceptions and a passer rating of 99.7.
The only category Rodgers wins is the TD:INT ratio, where he leads by one.
Keep in mind, not only has Garoppolo won every game he’s started in, the five he won for the 49ers was with him elevating the what many considered one of the lesser rosters of the league. Rodgers had a team his predecessor Brett Favre criticized he didn’t “do it [win a Super Bowl] sooner” with.
Seven games isn’t enough to fully realize the capabilities of a quarterback, but it’s enough for the first wave of teams to get film and knock out any flavors of the week. You may have heard of then St. Louis Rams quarterback Austin Davis, who lit the field on fire for two games, enough for Brett Favre to label him the next Tom Brady. He was benched within weeks after bad ball control and getting three turnovers in a game against the Arizona Cardinals. Troy Smith, a former 49ers starter lit the field up with a passer rating of 115.2 in his first start against the Denver Broncos. That number plummeted in subsequent weeks, leading to the Mike Singletary quarterback carousel loved by all.
Jimmy G has been able to play through teams having film and writing the book on him. Time will tell if he can continue doing this or start to regress like Colin Kaepernick did, but Garoppolo has done all of this with a worse team than other big signings.
Let’s see how he does with some more talent around him.