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Report: Jimmy Garoppolo, 49ers Finalizing New Contract as Highest-Paid Backup QB

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured Columnist IVAugust 29, 2022

Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images

Jimmy Garoppolo isn't going anywhere after all.

NFL Network's Mike Garafolo and Ian Rapoport reported Monday that Garoppolo and the San Francisco 49ers are working toward a new contract that will make him the NFL's highest-paid backup quarterback.

Per Garafolo, the deal will be worth $6.5 million guaranteed and as much as nearly $16 million. ESPN's Adam Schefter provided more details:

Adam Schefter @AdamSchefter

Comp update: Jimmy Garoppolo’s one-year restructured deal is worth $6.5 million in base, fully guaranteed, per sources. He has another total of $500k in roster bonuses. He also has playtime bonuses that can boost it another nearly $9M. So, one year, $7M, up to just shy of $16M.

The team had leverage to restructure Garoppolo's contract since none of a $24.2 million base salary was guaranteed.

The Niners might have overplayed their hand with Garoppolo, whom many believed would be gone one way or the other this offseason since Trey Lance took over the starting job.

Pro Football Talk's Mike Florio reported March 21 that general manager John Lynch told interested parties the team already had an offer of two second-round picks on the table.

Lynch refuted those rumors, telling reporters a week later that Garoppolo's shoulder surgery had caused negotiations to halt. The GM also indicated he didn't expect the situation to end with Garoppolo's release.

"I don't foresee that," Lynch said. "He's too good a player. I think Jimmy will be playing for us or will be playing for someone else. He's too good of a player not to be."

That hope remained, even as the preseason approached. Rapoport said Aug. 7 that San Francisco had "no clear trade partner" and that it could wait until the final cut day before moving on.

Ian Rapoport @RapSheet

From Inside Training Camp: The <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/49ers?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#49ers</a> have no reason to move on from Jimmy Garoppolo any time soon. Holding him until cut-down day makes sense. <a href="https://t.co/uxyfBQNaKZ">pic.twitter.com/uxyfBQNaKZ</a>

All signs seemingly pointed toward Garoppolo's departure, but there's plenty of logic in keeping him for at least one more season.

Because so much of the discourse has centered around what Garoppolo isn't rather than what he is, it has been easy to forget he's perfectly capable.

He finished 2021 with 3,810 yards and 20 touchdowns against 12 interceptions and a 68.3 percent completion rate, and he ranked 10th in defense-adjusted yards above replacement, per Football Outsiders.

Lance is firmly the guy, but head coach Kyle Shanahan acknowledged Friday that there's likely to be a learning curve in his first full year as a starter. That's not ideal for a franchise with Super Bowl aspirations.

Garoppolo is a proven alternative if things get bad, though one downside to his continued presence is that it could lead to calls to bench Lance after just one or two bad games.

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