As you may have heard, the San Francisco 49ers made a pretty major trade last season and ended up with a full-fledged starting quarterback. Jimmy Garoppolo left the cold of New England for the sunny West Coast, and things have been looking up in Santa Clara ever since.
Garoppolo came in and won the last five games of the season, improving the Niners’ record to 6-10 and his personal NFL starting record to 7-0. In those five games, plus the last minute of another, Garoppolo had a 67.4% completion percentage, while throwing for 1,560 yards, seven touchdowns and five interceptions. He had a QBR of 78.2,
But, it’s different when you start as the starter and have to perform a full season in that position, and eventually he’s going to lose a game.
This past February, Garoppolo signed a 5-year, $137.5 million contract, so the 49ers certainly aren't expecting him to lose a lot of them.
Age: 26 (He will turn 27 on November 2)
Experience: 4 accrued seasons
Weight: 226 lbs.
Garoppolo is in the first year of his five-year contract extension contract. He received $48.7 million fully guaranteed at signing. This included a $28 million roster bonus, which results in a 2018 cap charge of $37 million. If the 49ers cut him this year, they would carry $43 million in dead money, and lose $6.1 million in cap space.
How He Might Improve
Garoppolo is an extremely accurate passer, his quick release has been lauded by both head coach Kyle Shanahan and cornerback Richard Sherman, he’s a quick study, and he’s a leader. According to Pro Football Focus, The 49ers averaged 28.8 points per game during his five starts, and Garoppolo had 8.8 yards per attempt and a 63.2 percent completion rate on passes in the intermediate range.
There is not a lot to improve upon here, but if we must find a area, it’s on deeper passes. Jimmy G was 4-of-16 on passes of 20 yards or more in 2017. Now, five games does not provide a huge sample size and he was learning a new playbook and getting used to his receivers, but still, those numbers don’t lie. There is room for improvement here.
Generally, the 49ers need to improve in the red zone, Garoppolo had a 55 percent completion rate inside the 20 and a 37 percent completion rate inside the 10, per Pro Football Reference. That being said, the 49ers touchdowns increased dramatically under the Garoppolo regime, so those numbers should continue to climb with more familiarity with the playbook and his receivers.
How He Might Regress
Garoppolo has yet to be a starter for an entire season, so the wear and tear of 16 games (and hopefully more) will probably affect the quarterback some. More pressure could also have an affect, and of course, he probably will not win all 16 regular season games. Other than that, I don’t see Garoppolo doing a whole of regressing in 2018.
Odds of Making the Roster