If there was any team out there that dreamed of signing Kirk Cousins for around $26 million a season, they can forget it. The San Francisco 49ers just made quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo the NFL’s highest paid player with a five-year, $137.5 million contract.
The deal pays Garoppolo $27.5 million a season and surpasses the deal the Detroit Lions and Matthew Stafford agreed to by at least $500,000.
There’s going to be plenty of talk over the next day or two as sportswriters and talking heads determine if Garoppolo is worth it. After all, he’s only started seven games total in his career.
Well, he is 7-0 as a starter and, in game action, completed 67.3 percent of his passes for 2,250 yards, 12 touchdowns and five picks. Those five picks all came this season in his five starts for the 49ers.
The answer to that “is he worth it?” question can’t ever be answered until after the fact. If Garoppolo is a franchise quarterback, and he certainly looks like one, then he’s absolutely worth every penny. If you don’t have a franchise guy under center, you have nothing. And don’t point at the Super Bowl-winning Philadelphia Eagles to disprove that statement because before Jeff Fisher ruined him, everybody thought Nick Foles was a franchise QB too. All this playoff performance has done is get his career back on track and knock the Fisher stink off his shoulders.
When 49ers' QB Jimmy Garoppolo's 5-year deal gets finalized shortly, it will include the largest three-year cash total for a new contract in NFL history, just shy of $90 million, per source.
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) February 8, 2018
49ers general manager John Lynch and head coach Kyle Shanahan had no true bargaining chip to use in this negotiation. All they could do is piss off the kid and franchise him, which would still be around $22 million. Why not bite the bullet and go all in with the guy? All he cost them was a second round pick. If you want to pretend the Niners should have just franchised him, then what do you do next year when the contracts are up to $30 million a season. The fact is, San Francisco might have gotten off easy.
“When you find the right guy at that position (quarterback), it’s really good for your franchise,” Lynch told reporters at the Senior Bowl. “We believe we’ve found the right guy.”
And they, rightly, had to pay him like that guy.
KIRK COUSINS JUST NODDED AT HIS PHONE AND SMILED
Cousins is the next guy up and, unlike any gripe about Garoppolo’s body of work, he has a ton of game tape and years of elite statistical performances. There was a chance a team could have sneaked a long-term contract under Stafford’s average number for Cousins, just based on each man’s history and statistical performances. Now that Garoppolo, who has neither, jumped Stafford, Cousins has no reason to even listen to shit like that. It’s going to take $28 million to sign Cousins now.
So … I’d expect Kirk Cousins will surpass Jimmy Garoppolo’s average per year, and then Aaron Rodgers and Matt Ryan will have a shot at passing Cousins.
— Albert Breer (@AlbertBreer) February 8, 2018
The Redskins don’t look so stupid for getting Alex Smith for $23 million a season.
MATT RYAN AND AARON RODGERS SHARE AN EVIL LAUGH
With $27.5 million a year the new quarterback baseline, Cousins’ new deal will surpass it. Then, the actual big dogs must be paid. Considering the next guy due is a former league MVP and almost Super Bowl champion, “surpass” might be the least it does. Yep, the Atlanta Falcons front office officially coughed blood today as they considered the massive check they’ll have to write Matt Ryan this year when they negotiate a new contract.
Drew Brees, Kirk Cousins, Matt Ryan, Aaron Rodgers and any QB who's about to be paid in the near future thank Jimmy Garoppolo.
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) February 8, 2018
Here’s the deal on Ryan, and Rodgers too. They’ll get whatever they want. There’ll be a negotiation, but don’t be shocked to see Ryan end up with a $30 million a year deal and Rodgers pocket a $31 million a year deal. And that’s just both guys being nice. They have all the leverage with the Falcons and Green Bay Packers. What do you think either team could accomplish with them?
AND WHAT ABOUT NICK FOLES?
Foles is still currently under contract with the Eagles, but there’s no doubt they’ll be fielding trade offers for the Super Bowl MVP.
All it’d probably take is a second round pick to grab him and if I’m Sean McDermott and already like to use a run-pass option offense (or have had it forced on me), I make that deal easy. But, once a team has traded for Foles, that doesn’t mean he’ll take the field on his current contract. Foles is due to make $7.6 million next season. Nobody will get him to play for that.
"Without failure, who would you be?"
Super Bowl MVP Nick Foles delivers an all-time great sports quote 💯 pic.twitter.com/Gsz9n1wWrV
— Sports Illustrated (@SInow) February 7, 2018
Will Foles jump Garoppolo too? The body of work is there (minus the Jeff Fisher year) and, you know, he won a Super Bowl. Personally, I think he’ll get in the Alex Smith $23-24 million range, but he’ll have plenty of negotiating prowess after Garoppolo got this contract with only seven starts under his belt.
OH YEAH, DREW BREES
Brees is the pending free agent nobody’s talking about because not a single one of us believe he won’t sign a new contract and stay in New Orleans. Only now, how big will that contract be?
Brees doesn’t have the same negotiating power that Rodgers and Ryan do because of his age. This will likely be his final contract and if it’s any longer than three years, there’s every chance he won’t play it out. Brees’ last one-year extension paid him $24.5 million a year. New Orleans would love to just keep him on a year-to-year basis and the Franchise Tag makes a lot of sense for them if they can’t get a deal done.
— New Orleans Saints (@Saints) February 6, 2018
But they don’t want to make him mad. Brees is the face of the franchise and will be long after he retires. If I had to guess, he’ll get $26 million next year and it’ll be bumped up to $28 million if he comes back in 2019.
NEXT GUYS UP
Whatever happens with Rodgers and Ryan, look for those deals to be blown out of the water by Carson Wentz and Jared Goff. Both men made serious franchise quarterback moves this season and each has a sky-high trajectory on his career. There’s no reason to see the Eagles as anything less than a Super Bowl LIII favorite in the NFC right now and the Los Angeles Rams will be no less than the No. 3 favorite. Hell, I see them both as Nos. 1 and 2 and I’m far from alone.
While Wentz wasn’t on the field when the Eagles won the Super Bowl, he was a huge reason they got there. If the Eagles don’t return, it’ll probably be the Rams that stopped them. By the time they enter the final seasons of their rookie contracts, they could be looking at $35 million a season.
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