The San Francisco 49ers and Jimmy Garoppolo have reportedly agreed to terms on a five-year contract extension worth up to $137.5 million. The $27.5 million average per year and potentially $90 million in the first three years are records, but his reported $74 million in total guarantees is not. Regardless, Jimmy G is making some serious bank once this deal is formally executed.
And yet, it might not take very long for this deal to turn into a bargain. This depends in large part on Garoppolo proving he is worth franchise quarterback money, but for arguments sake, let’s say he does continue developing into the 49ers franchise guy. It will be a month before he is likely no longer the highest paid quarterback, and over the next year, several quarterbacks could outpace him.
Washington quarterback Kirk Cousins is due to hit free agency next month. Washington acquired Alex Smith via trade, which means Cousins will not be on the roster in 2018. There is a report the team might consider using the franchise tag to get a trade done, but either way, Cousins is looking at a big pay day this offseason.
We can take all of Garoppolo’s numbers and add a little something extra for Cousins. The 49ers could have franchised Garoppolo, which cut into his leverage a bit. Even with John Lynch prepared to back up the Brink’s Truck, the 49ers had a modest amount of leverage. Matthew Stafford had $60 million in fully guaranteed money, plus an additional $32 million in other guarantees. Cousins could surpass those, and I would not be surprised if he ended up in the $28 million or $29 million range for APY.
After that, Matt Ryan is due to hit free agency a year from now, and Aaron Rodgers and Russell Wilson the year after that. It seems highly likely both sign extensions before they hit free agency, and both could happen sooner rather than later. Garoppolo has set the floor on a Cousins deal, and Ryan, Rodgers, and Wilson could see whatever Cousins gets as the basement on their own negotiations.
The highest paid quarterback is usually the most recent to sign a new contract. Garoppolo is that guy for now, but Cousins, Ryan, Rodgers, and Wilson are all likely to shuffle around near the top as they agree to their new deals. We don’t know how Garoppolo will perform in the coming years, but if we look at this optimistically, it will be hard not to like this deal.