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Jimmy G gets paid
The 49ers Still Have A Long Way To Go

Somewhere in the middle of an absolutely crazy NBA trade deadline, Jimmy Garoppolo signed the richest contract in NFL history. The San Francisco 49ers penned the former under study of Tom Brady to a $137,500,000 contract over five-years and have committed to a seemingly bright future. We all expected the idiot brain trust in the Niners’ head office to screw this up, and they did the opposite.

Whether or not you think Garoppolo is “worth” this contract doesn’t really matter. This team is just six seasons removed from appearing in the 2013 Super Bowl and five years departed from narrowly losing the 2014 NFC Championship. Since then they’ve traded Alex Smith, watched a once great defence completely evaporate, never seemed inclined to re-sign Colin Kaepernick (despite him having identical numbers to Garoppolo) and have failed to have a winning season the last four seasons. They’ve also finished dead last in the NFC West three years in a row.

All the while, the York family continued to reign supreme as the worst football family in the entire country. Content to watch the value of the team skyrocket on the backs of a rich television deal and the overall success of the NFL, the York family never really did anything to appease their fan base. Even the acquisition of Jon Lynch as general manager, and the oft-maligned Kyle Shanahan as a head coach seemed like more of the same. I’m sure the York family wrung their hands hoping that Lynch would do what people thought he would do – keep the status quo of failure steady in San Francisco.

The thing is that Lynch was as prepared for the job as he said he was. He fleeced the Chicago Bears, who moved up to draft Mitchell Trubisky by dealing a significant portion of their future in the 2017 NFL Draft. Then he acquired Garoppolo. And then Garoppolo was awesome, ending the season undefeated with MVP-caliber numbers. Hell, the Niners won five games with Jimmy at the helm and just a single other game with guys like Hoyer, Beathard and whoever else trying to sling from under center.

Despite all the rumors circulating around New England, the whole reason that the Patriots traded Jimmy away was to get something in return for him. They couldn’t extend Garoppolo what he was worth and pay Tom Brady at the same time. I’ve already written about this. You know the facts by now.

So when he fell in to the lap of the hapless 49ers, and then blossomed, the team had to lock him down. Is he worth it? Are Joe Flacco or Matthew Stafford or Derek Carr, who have equally mammoth contracts? The guy who just won the Super Bowl earned $5.5 million last year as a veteran. You tell me what a quarterback is really worth.

This money is worth it from the standpoint that it re-energizes fans in the Bay area. The Yorks and Lynch both knew that they had to do something to reinvigorate an annoyed and disheartened fan base. You can’t look at empty stadiums in Los Angeles and Arizona on Sundays and not get a bit concerned as an owner. This is a move that will excite and jolt the city in a good way. And it’s a great move – quarterbacks are not easy to find no matter what people say about prospective rookies. There’s palpable energy surrounding the potential of this team heading in to next season. has listed the San Francisco 49ers as +2000 longshots to win Super Bowl LIII. To put that in perspective, they’re now getting the same odds as the Atlanta Falcons, Dallas Cowboys and New Orleans Saints. That’s some heady company, don’t you think?

More importantly, I broached a handful of handicapper buddies and asked them to guess what the regular season win total on the San Francisco 49ers. The average was around 10 wins. That felt high to me, but they said that part of it was insuring against the potential of the betting public which gets crazy about the 49ers when they’re competitive. It’s not an official number yet anyways. Regular Season Win Totals aren’t released until late August.

Don’t we do this with at least one team every off-season? As in, get too excited about them? The 2017 Oakland Raiders were that same hype team. In 2016, believe it or not, people said that the Arizona Cardinals were going to win the NFC and they didn’t even have a winning record. Practically every Tampa Bay Buccaneers team over the past four seasons has been the team handicappers and football experts peg as the “leap team”. San Francisco will undeniably be that team in 2018.

The major issue is two-fold. The 49ers have a ton of holes. Their offensive line still isn’t great. They sort of took the league by surprise last season, and now defences won’t take Garoppolo lightly nor will they be unprepared for him. Those six game tapes on him are deadly in the wrong hands.

More so, the San Francisco 49ers have a major uphill battle in the form of their own division. The NFC West is really good. Seattle, who have laughable +1800 odds to win Super Bowl LIII, is always going to be in the mix as long as Russell Wilson isn’t playing third base for the Yankees (and is therefore the quarterback of the Seahawks). The Los Angeles Rams are simply going to get better. Arizona may not have a quarterback or a head coach, but they still have a top rated defence and the (third?) best running back in the game coming back from injury.

That’s a tough sled even if the Rams runaway with the division again. This group hates each other. There are no easy games in the NFC West.

It’s easy to get caught up in the excitement. The league is better when San Francisco is competitive, the same way baseball is more fun when the Yankees are in the playoffs and the Toronto Maple Leafs are competing at a high level in the NHL. We all want the Knicks and Lakers to be relevant again. That’s the power of these types of legendary franchises. It’s fun for a time when they’re bad, but eventually we want them to matter.

San Francisco will be right there, but in a couple seasons. I like Jimmy G a lot. I love what Lynch is doing. Shanahan’s value is obvious given how drastically the Falcons fell of a cliff when they replaced him with Steve Sarkisian. They have a high draft pick, and Carlos Hyde along with the emerging Marquise Goodwin. It’s easy to be cherry pick a few positives and say “Look everyone! Good things happening!”

It’s just hard for me to see them as division champs, let alone a real threat in the playoffs. Everyone will see them coming this year, and want to pound the highest paid quarterback in the league. Again, I don’t want them to flounder. We’ve had enough of that. But I didn’t want Oakland to suffer in 2017, or the Cardinals to stink in 2016. But failure inevitably follows the hype team from the off-season.

I’m not saying it will happen. I’m just suggesting that you should sit on your hands before entrusting the 2018 San Francisco 49ers with all your hopes and dreams. Don’t get lost in Jimmy’s dreamy eyes just yet.

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