When a player signs a contract, we’ll hear reactions. When a player signs a deal that can be classified as the biggest in NFL history, we’ll hear a lot of reactions. And we’ll hear from some big-name folks. Fortunately, the AT&T Pro-Am at Pebble Beach is currently underway, and a whole lot of current and former NFL talent is on hand and happy to talk about Jimmy G.
San Francisco 49ers beat writer Cam Inman is on assignment at Pebble Beach (rough life!), and he had a chance to speak to both Steve Young and Alex Smith. Young is a big-time 49ers cheerleader, so it is no surprise he is excited about the deal. He acknowledged the importance of the quarterback position, and the need to just pay up for it.
“At this point, with guys you think can go win championships, you’ve got to get them locked up and pay the market (rate), that’s how it works,” Young said.
Alex Smith talked about the cap getting bigger and bigger, and that will move the market rate up more and more.
I think most people understand how NFL salaries work, but some people are shocked at how much money Garoppolo is set to earn. In reality, the highest paid player in the NFL is rarely the best player in the NFL. Quarterbacks are the most valued position, but NFL rules give teams more leverage. An Aaron Rodgers is not going to hit free agency regularly, but will instead be left to renegotiate his deal as the two sides can figure it out.
Speaking of Rodgers, he and Arizona cardinals wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald spoke with San Francisco Chronicle reporter Ron Kroichick about the extension. Rodgers was effusive in his praise. He described Garoppolo as a quarterback who played fantastic, and has a steady way about him.
“I’ve gotten to know a little bit over the years, he’s been part of Tom Brady’s group,” Rodgers said. “He’s a fantastic guy. We text a little bit during the year. He’s just got a real steady way about him, and I think that translates to the field well. He’s very easy to talk to and be around. Like I said, he just has an ease of confidence about him, that I’m sure his teammates will gravitate toward. I’m really happy for him.”
Fitzgerald did not get to see Garoppolo in action, but he was clearly paying attention to the 49ers strong finish to the season. Given the Cardinals current issues at quarterback and dealing with a new head coach, Fitzgerald likely recognizes that he could be looking at the 49ers tail lights this coming season.