Jimmy Garoppolo

49ers locking in Jimmy Garoppolo sets up interesting future with Bears' Mitch Trubisky

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49ers locking in Jimmy Garoppolo sets up interesting future with Bears' Mitch Trubisky

Second-guessing is as easy as it is pointless, same with playing “what-if?” So that’s not the point here at all.
 
The San Francisco 49ers casting their future (and a not insignificant portion of their salary cap) into quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo this week – potentially $137 million over five years – marks another of those moves that aren’t directly tied to anything Bears, but nonetheless spark a number of thoughts, much as the Super Bowl and postseason in general did, even sans Bears.
 
By way of Garoppolo-specific musings:

If anyone thought using a No. 2-overall draft pick on a quarterback with just 13 college starts (Mitch Trubisky), how about making a quarterback with a total of seven NFL starts and 94 total NFL passes prior to Week 12 of the 2017 NFL season the highest-paid player in football? Starts at North Carolina are nowhere near the same conversation about NFL ones.

But if Garoppolo turns in anything close to the 5-0 performance he did as a starter for the then-woeful 49ers from this point forward, San Francisco GM John Lynch should be unanimous NFL executive of the year, as Ron Wolf (Brett Favre) deserved to be, both of them getting franchise quarterbacks via trade. And Lynch did it with a second-round pick, much as Bill Walsh once did to get Steve Young out of Tampa (the 49ers also threw in a No. 4 to make that deal).
 
(A side question is still the real reason why the Patriots didn’t keep Garoppolo in addition to having Tom Brady the way the 49ers once did when they traded for Young with Joe Montana in place. San Francisco kept them both for five years, which was possible before the advent of the salary cap. But a little intra-QB tension didn’t derail either player or the organization, which won consecutive Super Bowls in 1988-89 even with a head-coaching change. Besides, Brady has made more difficult “adjustments” in his career.)
 
It matters not in the least now, but could Garoppolo have been a Bear? Not unless GM Ryan Pace was clairvoyant.
 
Garoppolo was on the Bears’ radar this time a year ago (which is really not saying much – if you know anything about radar, EVERYTHING is “on” radar, so this is the last time that phrase will appear under this by-line). So were Kirk Cousins, Mike Glennon and myriad other possible solutions to the post-Jay Cutler question around the Bears quarterback situation.
 
So Pace did his due diligence, which including watching Garoppolo work against the Bears during 2016 Bears-Patriots joint practices in New England. wasn’t going to give up No. 1 and No. 3 picks (the supposed New England asking price) for Garoppolo, neither was anyone else, including the 49ers, and the Patriots at that point weren’t really going to give up Garoppolo, anyway. That came later, long after any fail-safe point Pace and the Bears had with respect to making a decision of their own.
 
Pace will be subject to enough scrutiny based on the comparative performances of Trubisky and Deshaun Watson. He doesn’t and won’t deserve any over Garoppolo not being a Bear. Garoppolo wasn’t going to give Pace any hometown discount based on being from Arlington Heights or sharing an alma mater (Eastern Illinois).
 
Exponentially more important is what Pace does to build a franchise team around Trubisky. The Bears were aggressive in securing Matt Nagy, retaining Vic Fangio and then supplementing Nagy/Mark Helfrich with Brad Childress as an offensive consultant. And Pace got the quarterback he wanted at what is and will be a fraction of the contract cost of what the 49ers lavished on Garoppolo, whom the Bears will see again in 2018, every three years based on normal schedule rotation, and every year in between whenever the Bears and 49ers finish at the same division level.
 
That, far more than Trubisky-Watson, will be the rivalry to watch over time.

Former Rolling Meadows High School quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo agrees to record NFL contract

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Former Rolling Meadows High School quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo agrees to record NFL contract

Jimmy Garoppolo entered the 2017 NFL season as a backup quarterback to arguably the best player of all-time at his position, Tom Brady. Entering the 2018 season, Garoppolo, an Arlington Heights native and Rolling Meadows High School alumnus, will be making more money on an average-per-year basis than Brady or any other player in NFL history.

Thursday, Garoppolo and the 49ers reportedly agreed to a five-year, $137.5 million contract that will pay the 26-year-old quarterback an average of $27.5 million per season. 

The 49ers acquired Garoppolo for just a second-round draft pick at the end of October. The move was a surprise to many, considering that the Patriots showed little interest in trading Garoppolo last offseason despite being able to land a first round pick in return.

Garoppolo played in six games for the 49ers in 2017, completing 67.4 percent of his passes for 1,560 yards and seven touchdowns. Garoppolo started the 49ers' final five games, leading San Francisco to a perfect 5-0 record that includes a win over the Bears at Soldier Field.

Garoppolo's rise is remarkable considering where his football career truly started. Coming out of high school, he received few offers to play quarterback at the Division-1 level before ultimately landing at Eastern Illinois University.

Garoppolo has limited experience in the NFL, which makes him receiving such a large contract even more remarkable. In four NFL seasons, he has played in just 23 games with the Patriots and 49ers.

Despite this limited experience, Garoppolo was in high demand across the league before the Patriots ultimately dealt him to the 49ers. In fact, the Bears reportedly were interested in acquiring him before drafting Mitchell Trubisky in the first round of the 2017 NFL Draft.

Landing Trubisky by no means is a consolation prize for the Bears. In the end, both the 49ers and Bears landed young starting quarterbacks that should lead their respective franchises for years to come.

Bears-49ers highlighted the gap between Mitchell Trubisky and Jimmy Garoppolo

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Bears-49ers highlighted the gap between Mitchell Trubisky and Jimmy Garoppolo

In the big picture, the result of Sunday’s game — a 15-14 Bears loss to the San Francisco 49ers, who scored all their points on five Robbie Gould field goals — doesn’t matter a whole lot. It does to the players, of course, and will have some impact on the draft positions of both of these teams.

But what Sunday’s meeting between two of the worst teams in the NFL did highlight was the gap between Jimmy Garoppolo and Mitchell Trubisky.

Garoppolo, who’s in his fourth year in the league, made his first start with the 49ers and completed 26 of 37 passes for 293 yards with an interception and an 82.4 rating. Trubisky, making his eighth career start, completed 12 of 15 passes for 102 yards with one touchdown and a rating of 117.2. But this less about each player’s respective stat line and more about how each player looked on Sunday.

Garoppolo — who was barely pressured by the Bears’ front seven — picked apart the middle of the field and made a number of impressive throws, even with a lackluster group of receivers and a running game that didn’t go anywhere (Carlos Hyde rushed 17 times for 54 yards).

For all the talk in the Bay Area of Garoppolo not knowing coach Kyle Shahanan’s offensive system, he looked comfortable and confident throwing the ball and operating the San Francisco offense. Garoppolo’s interception was less about him making a bad throw and more about Kyle Fuller making an outstanding play to rip the ball away from receiver Louis Murphy.

Meanwhile, Trubisky started the game well, finding Dontrelle Inman for an eight-yard touchdown and showing good timing on some quick slant throws. But whatever modest level of success he had against a 49ers defense that entered Sunday ranked 27th in DVOA fizzled in the second half. Trubisky fumbled twice in the span of three plays at one point and looked “hoppy” at times, though he once again did well to avoid any dangerous throws.

Everyone shares in the blame for the Bears’ offensive struggles, from Trubisky to the running game to the wide receivers to the offensive line to the coaching staff. It’s not like the 49ers have markedly better players surrounding their franchise quarterback, though there’s an argument to be made the coaching around Garoppolo is better.

But while Garoppolo out-played Trubisky on Sunday, this isn’t necessarily a sky-is-falling take second-guessing the Bears’ decision to get their guy instead of the 49ers’ guy. Worth noting: Garoppolo will be a free agent after this season, and given the market for quarterbacks (see: Mike Glennon’s contract) he’ll be in line for a hefty payday from San Francisco.

Meanwhile, the Bears control Trubisky for four more inexpensive years during which he can develop and grow. It might be easier to build a core around a quarterback who will earn a little over $29 million on his current contract than having to pay around $20 million just to keep said franchise quarterback.