Remember when people viewed Jimmy Garoppolo's contract as an albatross? That was funny.

It was a short-sighted analysis at the time, and looks more absurd by the day. Far too often people get wrapped up in the giant numbers, when in actuality, the payments often are quite less. And for that reason, the amount of guaranteed money in any contract is what should be focused on.

For instance, when Garoppolo signed a five-year, $137.5 million contract with the 49ers in February of 2018, only $74.1 million of it was fully guaranteed. And due to the way that contract was structured, the vast majority of that guaranteed money -- all but $19.9 million -- already has been paid off.

According to Over The Cap, Garoppolo carries a base salary of $23.8 million and can earn another $2.8 million through bonuses in 2020. All combined, that's a $26.6 million cap hit, which is 12.87 percent of the projected team salary cap. Why is that important?

Because throughout NFL history, no team has won the Super Bowl with its quarterback taking up more than 13.1 percent of the cap. That was Steve Young in 1994-95, and though not by much, Jimmy G's cap hit fits just within that outer marker. That bodes well for the 49ers, particularly considering how it compares to some of their top competition.

Russell Wilson, for instance, will occupy 15.53 percent of the Seattle Seahawks' salary cap in 2020. Dak Prescott currently is slated to take up 14.47 percent of the Dallas Cowboys' cap -- and that's before he signs what is expected to be a lucrative contract extension. NBC Sports' Chris Simms on Tuesday told 105.3 The Fan's "K&C Masterpiece" show that Prescott had turned down a five-year, $175 million contract offer from Dallas. NFL Media's Ian Rapoport reported Thursday that both Prescott's agent and the Cowboys have since refuted that report, but in any case, if and when Prescott does sign an extension, you can be sure it will come with a hefty price tag and lofty cap hit.

 

The Cowboys (+750) currently have the fourth-best odds to win the NFC, while the 49ers (+460) are the favorites, according to FoxBet. Unfortunately for San Francisco, both the New Orleans Saints (+575) and Tampa Bay Buccaneers (+625) -- who have the second- and third-best odds in the NFC, respectively -- have starting quarterbacks who also take up less than 13.1 percent of the overall cap. Drew Brees will occupy 11.94 percent of the Saints' cap, while Tom Brady will take up 12.25 percent of the Bucs' cap.

It's not any better when it comes to the two favorites in the AFC, either. Patrick Mahomes will take up only 2.39 percent of the reigning Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs' salary cap in 2020, while Lamar Jackson will account for only 1.31 percent of the Baltimore Ravens' total cap. Thus is the benefit of reaching a contending stage while a team's QB is still on his rookie contract.

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The 49ers will have to go through a gauntlet to make it back to the Super Bowl, but if they do, their QB's contract -- historically speaking -- will provide for the possibility of a winning result.

That's more than Seahawks or Cowboys can say, at least.

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