Figuring out Garoppolo will be key for 49ers in stretch


Associated Press

SANTA CLARA, CALIF.

Figuring out the compensation to acquire Jimmy Garoppolo from New England was only part of the equation for the San Francisco 49ers.

The way Garoppolo plays down the stretch once he finally takes over as the starting quarterback for the 49ers will determine how much money he will get paid to be the franchise quarterback in San Francisco.

The Niners paid a big price to acquire Garoppolo when they dealt a 2018 second-round pick to the Patriots on Oct. 31 for a quarterback who has made only two NFL starts and will be paid more like a proven commodity because he’s eligible to be an unrestricted free agent in March.

“We brought him here because we want him to be the quarterback of the future,” coach Kyle Shanahan said. “That’s up to Jimmy and how it works out here, and we’re going to work our best to get him ready. We’re going to look at every opportunity to find that guy, and this opportunity came up, and Jimmy is a guy that we believe can be that guy. So, when that opportunity came up, and it’s a guy that you believe in from what you’ve seen on tape and what you’ve heard of people that know him, that’s something that’s too good of an opportunity to pass up on. So, we didn’t hesitate.”

By trading for Garoppolo now rather than trying to sign him as a free agent in March, the 49ers (1-9) can get a chance to see him in action to help determine his value.

That could come as soon as after San Francisco returns from the bye to host Seattle on Nov. 26. Garoppolo is using the week off to get extra time with Shanahan and quarterbacks coach Rich Scangarello to get up to speed on an entirely new offense.

Having paid that price in a premium pick, the 49ers aren’t exactly going to let Garoppolo walk away as a free agent. The question is whether they will be able to strike a long-term deal or have to use either the franchise or transition tag to keep Garoppolo locked up.

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