DANNY ONEIL

Is Jimmy Garoppolo worth his mega deal?

Feb 9, 2018, 10:31 AM
garappolo...
Quarterback Jimmy Garappolo is 5-0 as a starter for San Francisco. (AP)
(AP)

No one has ever made more money in the NFL after doing less than Jimmy Garoppolo.

That’s because no one has made more money, period, than the quarterback who just signed a five-year contract that will pay him $75 million at the very least.

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Not bad for a guy who has started a total of five games for the team that’s paying him all that loot and a total of seven games in his four years in the NFL.

Is he worth it? We’ll see.

But what I do know is that the San Francisco 49ers are taking an incredible risk on a guy who hasn’t played all that much NFL football.

Kind of like the Detroit Lions did with Scott Mitchell once upon a time. Or the Arizona Cardinals did with Kevin Kolb back in 2011. Matt Cassell was downright experienced compared to those two. He had a solid 15 regular-season games under his belt when the Chiefs traded for the right to make him rich.

The fail rate isn’t 100 percent. Matt Hasselbeck was the Packers’ backup to Brett Favre when the Seahawks traded for him, and that turned out more than OK. The Matt Flynn Experience was decidedly less satisfying for Seattle, but it really didn’t matter because the Seahawks had picked Russell Wilson.

In fact, Seattle’s process in finding its franchise quarterback was the exact opposite of how San Francisco went about it. The Seahawks took a series of measured, moderate investments in quarterbacks they thought could pan out. The Seahawks paid Charlie Whitehurst $8 million for two years. They paid Tarvaris Jackson $4 million for one season. They paid Matt Flynn $10 million for what turned out to be no starts and then drafted Wilson in the third round of the 2012 draft.

Total it all up and Seattle spent about one-third of the money that San Francisco promised to Garoppolo during a process that culminated with Wilson’s ascendance, and when it came time to pay Wilson a top-shelf contract, he had shown for three years that he was an elite quarterback.

Garoppolo is 5-0 as a starter for San Francisco, but has yet to win a meaningful game and will be paid like a franchise quarterback before the 49ers know if he is, you know, a franchise quarterback.

There’s no statistical justification for what the 49ers just did. They paid all that money to Garoppolo, whose production in the six games he has played for San Francisco was not as good as what Colin Kaepernick did in his last six games he played as a 49er.

That doesn’t mean Garoppolo won’t turn out to be the quarterback the 49ers are paying him to be. It does mean that the 49ers have bet at least $75 million and the next two to three years of their franchise’s success on the belief that he will be.

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Is Jimmy Garoppolo worth his mega deal?