It’s official! Jimmy Garoppolo and the San Francisco 49ers have agreed to a record-breaking five-year, $137.5 million contract. So what does this mean for the 49ers as they head into free agency?
In one year, the 49ers got a new General Manager, a largely new front office, a new Head Coach, overturned more than half their roster, and now have a franchise quarterback.
Once a team has stability in the front office, at Head Coach with a system everyone believes in, and then a franchise quarterback to build around, that team is now in contention to win a championship. The process is even further along if that team has a young, blossoming defense, which the 49ers also have.
The 49ers do have a few pieces to acquire and tweak, but once the quarterback situation is figured out, the rest can happen much easier than without a quarterback.
It should come as no surprise if you’ve followed the 49ers at all since they made the game-changing trade with New England just a few months ago. Players have contacted the 49ers about playing with Jimmy Garoppolo. They like what the 49ers are building and want to be a part of it.
Just this week, we’ve also seen players like Pierre Garcon and Jaquiski Tartt begin the recruitment process for big-name cornerback Malcom Butler, who would solidify a young, promising secondary.
San Francisco has over $116 million under the cap (well, less, now that Garoppolo has signed, but still a lot) and can sign just about any player they want. There are several players that could arrive to make the 49ers not only a playoff contender, but a very dangerous team going into 2018.
This cannot be understated. Going into 2017, most people knew Brian Hoyer was not the long-term answer. It was also very likely that rookie C.J. Beathard was going to likely turn into the backup for whoever the 49ers would bring in during the 2018 offseason. The draft was going to be centered around finding a franchise quarterback and the real reload would begin, at best, in 2019.
The Garoppolo trade and signing speeds the entire timetable up. The draft can now be used to solidify the interior offensive line, perhaps with Quenton Nelson from Notre Dame. They can focus on defensive depth, finding a wide receiver to groom, and perhaps another running back to compete with Matt Breida.
These items are just the tip of the iceberg of possibilities for the 49ers now that they have signed their franchise quarterback long term. There hasn’t been this much buzz surrounding this franchise since 2012, when they were building their roster to compete for the Super Bowl.
It’s fun to the be a 49ers fan again. Kudos to those that stuck with the team through the last few years and be ready to watch a contender in 2018.