49ers

49ers trading for Jimmy Garoppolo a defining moment of Lynch-Shanahan era

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49ers trading for Jimmy Garoppolo a defining moment of Lynch-Shanahan era

The San Francisco 49ers now have their quarterback of the future, and the New England Patriots have Tom Brady.

For the moment, the Patriots still win. Down the road, though . . .

Well, down the road is all the 49ers have, as we all know. And Jimmy Garoppolo is the road they have chosen to travel.

In dealing the higher of their two second-round picks to get Garoppolo, the Patriots’ now former heir apparent to Brady, the 49ers have decided not to spend $30 million on Kirk Cousins, and may even decide to trade down from their place atop the first round list to get more picks to turn into more players.

All of which they need, desperately.

But the baseline is still the same – the 49ers have gone all in on Jimmy Garoppolo as their future, and guessing right solves their biggest problem for perhaps as much as a decade, while guessing wrong sets the franchise back at least three more years.

In short, John Lynch and Kyle Shanahan have decided to push it all in eight games into their tenure, a level of impatience/urgency that both inspires and frightens. This is the defining moment of their era to date, and if you are an action junkie who lives for trades and trade deadlines, you approve wholeheartedly.

And the only thing that really worries you is this: Bill Belichick doesn’t shed people he thinks are both skilled and cost-effective, and those who deal with him do so at their peril. That’s how he got to be Bill Belichick.

But Belichick is always dealing from strength, and the 49ers are dealing from catastrophic weakness. That they only had to spend a high second pick for a chance to recreate their future speaks to that weakness and to their wisdom in not getting taken for more.

In short, the 49ers have done well to get the deal of the day. But they need it to be the deal of the decade, and then have the draft of the decade, and then the draft of the decade again. Jimmy Garoppolo is the best thing Lynch and Shanahan have done since they got here. Now they have to do it again, and again, and then again.

Kilgore: All of 49ers on same page 'for the first time in a long time'

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USATSI

Kilgore: All of 49ers on same page 'for the first time in a long time'

The 49ers’ coaching staff made its feelings known to center Daniel Kilgore throughout the season.

But, in the past, that would not have necessarily meant everyone in the organization had the same thoughts about Kilgore, who was scheduled to be an unrestricted free agent.

“The whole season, coaches and I had a good relationship,” Kilgore said Wednesday on conference call with Bay Area reporters. “Just talking and having one-on-ones with various coaches, I had a positive outlook for the future.

“But that’s just one thing. The coaches have an opinion of you, but then there’s also the front office. That’s two totally different things. And I think for the first time in a long time, our coaches and the front office are on the same page.”

Kilgore was working out back home in Tennessee on Wednesday when he signed a three-year contract to avoid hitting the free-agent market. Kilgore, 30, a seven-year NFL veteran, described the contract as a team-friendly deal.

The 49ers presented Kilgore with a contract offer during the season but negotiations did not get serious until just recently. While the 49ers expressed interest in retaining Kilgore, he said he did not know what the future held for him when he packed his belongings from the locker room on the day after the season ended.

“It kind of makes you nervous because in this profession, people like the younger guys,” Kilgore said. “You just never know what will happen at any time, any given day, in the NFL. So toward the end, that last day of clearing out the locker, I didn’t know if I’d be back. I didn’t know if the Niners would want me back.”

Kilgore was named the winner of the organization’s top honor for an offensive lineman. Kilgore won the Bobb McKittrick Award for best exemplifying the dedication, excellence and commitment of the long-time 49ers offensive line coach. Kilgore started all 29 games in which he appeared the past two seasons, including a career-high 16 games last season.

"I've been here seven years and I consider the Bay Area my second home,” Kilgore said. “To be able to extend my career wearing the 49ers jersey was special to me. This team is heading in the right direction, I wanted to be a part of it."

Why the 49ers did not hesitate to pay Garoppolo big money

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Matt Maiocco

Why the 49ers did not hesitate to pay Garoppolo big money

When Jimmy Garoppolo signed a contract that could pay him up to $137.5 million over the next five years, he was asked what convinced him during his nine weeks with the organization that he wanted to be with the 49ers for the long term.

“I think it was a number of things,” Garoppolo said last week. “The team, the acceptance that they had of me when I first got here from the get-go, the coaching staff, Kyle and Rich. It was a very welcoming environment, and I really liked that. We had some success down the stretch, and you could see that pieces were falling into place. We've got a long way to go, but I think we're moving in the right direction.”

Kyle, of course, is head coach Kyle Shanahan. Rich Scagarello is the 49ers’ quarterbacks coach, and the person from whom Garoppolo spent the most time after arriving in Santa Clara on Oct. 31 after a trade with the New England Patriots.

Garoppolo earned $3.5 million in his first four NFL seasons. His new contract makes him the NFL’s highest-paid player, making an average of $27.5 million per season, with $48.7 million fully guaranteed.

Scangarello, appearing this week on The 49ers Insider Podcast, talked about what he learned about Garoppolo from working so closely with him to teach him Shanahan's offense. Scangarello said there is no question in his mind the money will not change Garoppolo’s approach to his work.

“That’s why it was easy for the organization and everyone to invest in somebody like Jimmy Garoppolo,” Scangarello said. “I just think that’s not the kind of person he is. If you met his family, you know where he comes from, what he’s about. His brothers, his parents, are just good, solid people people. He’s made of the right stuff and I just don’t see that affecting him in that way.

“It’s just not who he is. That’s the fun part of working with somebody like that every day. When they’re really talented and they appreciate everything and they work at it, you have a chance to be a successful organization and they can be a great player. And I don’t think those things will ever affect him.”