49ers: Breaking down quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo’s new contract


The details are out on San Francisco 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo’s record-breaking deal. We break down the contract of the NFL’s new highest-paid player.


On Thursday, NFL Network’s Mike Garafolo broke the news the San Francisco 49ers and quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo signed the “biggest deal in NFL history” — a five-year contract worth up to $137.5 million:

On Friday, ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported on the details of Garoppolo’s contract. The deal does make Garoppolo the highest paid player in NFL history, but as San Francisco and chief contract negotiator Paraag Marathe are prone to do, the contract was still written to be quite team-friendly.

Let’s break down the details.

Prior to Garoppolo’s contract, the 49ers led the NFL with an estimated $115 million in cap space for 2018. General manager John Lynch and the Niners’ front office decided to use this excess cap room to front-load Garoppolo’s contract.

Instead of a large signing bonus — which would have been prorated over the five-year contract for salary-cap purposes — the Niners will pay Garoppolo a one-time $28 million roster bonus that will only count against the 2018 salary cap; Garoppolo’s smaller signing bonus of $7 million will be prorated over the next five years.

If Garoppolo doesn’t turn out to be the franchise quarterback he appears to be, San Francisco can release him after three seasons with only $2.8 million in dead money. In fact, if the 49ers choose to release Garoppolo after just one season, for cap purposes, they will only be responsible for the $7.5 million guaranteed portion of his 2019 contract, and the outstanding prorated portions of his signing bonus.

But if Garoppolo is indeed the Niners’ quarterback of the future, they will have him under contract in 2021 and 2022 for approximately $27 million per season — well under the expected market value for a “franchise quarterback.”

The 49ers added a bit of additional insurance into the contract by including workout bonuses as well as per-game roster bonuses that will not be paid if Garoppolo is injured and unable to play.

Provided Garoppolo stays healthy and plays out his five-year contract with the 49ers, here are his cap hit numbers by season:

2018: $37 million
2019: $20 million
2020: $26.6 million
2021: $26.9 million
2022: $27 million

Since Jimmy Garoppolo could have easily held out for a better deal, it’s obvious that he wants to be a Niner — and by making him the NFL’s highest-paid player, it’s obvious that the San Francisco 49ers want Garoppolo to be the face of their franchise.