Editor’s note: The 49ers on the eve of the 2017 trade deadline acquired coveted quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo from the Patriots for a second-round pick in the 2018 draft. Below is a bio on the passer.
Age: 25 (turns 26 roughly 36 hours after trade)
Height/Weight: 6-2, 226 lbs.
NFL Starts: 2
Games Played: 17
Career Cmp/Att: 63-of-94 (67.0%)
Career Passing Yards: 690
Career TD: 5
Career INT: 0
Career Rating: 106.2
How this came to be: Garoppolo made it crystal clear that he wants to be a starter. He didn’t want to put his career on hold any longer. Originally a second-round pick in 2014, Garoppolo was highly-touted in his own right, even before the Patriots branded him. And he’s been in the league for 3.5+ years now and there was no sign of him putting down the clipboard any time soon.
With Tom Brady mixing his protein shakes with water from the fountain of youth, it became clear for Garoppolo – he was not going to take over in New England in 2018. And if not then, it was never going to happen for him there. This was a deal that made a lot of sense for both the Patriots and the 49ers, and even more so, the compensation was right.
Background: Garoppolo, drafted 62nd overall out of Eastern Illinois, entered the NFL as one of the more gifted quarterback prospects of the 2014 class, a group that also featured Teddy Bridgewater and Derek Carr. Coming into a unique situation, Garoppolo hasn't played much and has instead been marinating under a couple of legends in Brady and Bill Belichick for nearly four years – and now he is ready to leave the nest and be the guy.
While his sample size is small, it’s quality.
He’s seen action in over a dozen games, with only two starts (six quarters), both of which were wins (@ Arizona, vs. Miami). In those starts, Garoppolo was 42-of-59 for 496 yards, four touchdowns and no interceptions. He completed 71.19% of his passes, and was 4-of-7 for 113 yards and two touchdowns on throws that traveled more than 20 yards in the air, per ESPN's Matt Bowen.
There’s also a lot of scouts and personnel people around the league that believe in him as the total package, including Kyle Shanahan.
"He was a very good thrower,'' Shanahan said of Garoppolo at the Super Bowl, via the Cleveland Plain Dealer.
"Tough guy, kept his eyes down the field, could get rid of the ball fast. Really liked the person. Had a chance to go out to dinner with him and stuff. He played at Eastern Illinois, and it was a different type of offense where you can't always evaluate with how quick they get rid of the ball. But I really thought he was a very intelligent, tough player with a good throwing motion."
This scouting report from Shanahan was officially validated when the team made the move to get him. And it carries weight considering the 49ers coach's track record in the league, including his recent success with Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan.
For an excellent film breakdown highlighting Garoppolo’s traits, take time to read Bowen’s post at ESPN.com. The rundown is taken from the QB's two pro starts.
Fit with the 49ers: Garoppolo has ability Shanahan values, that is if you look at players like Kirk Cousins, Brian Hoyer and even rookie C.J. Beathard. By nature, they’re ball distributors that stand tall and tough in the pocket. And what Belichick saw in Garoppolo for New England’s offense, Shanahan may see for his, given the shared concepts.
This was also a great front office decision from a value and risk standpoint.
By aggressively trading for Garoppolo instead of waiting to bid on Cousins, the 49ers stop the waiting game, secure their quarterback and turn their attention to other areas of focus during the rebuild. Garoppolo for a second-round pick, albeit a high one, is also a better value option than drafting a fellow unknown in the top-5 who is less experienced. And this way San Francisco retains its first-round pick, which is expected to be quite high.
There's also going to be a gap in what Garoppolo could earn and what Cousins is expected to earn on their next respective contracts. The Niners are bound to save some money here, if only a little. This allows them to splurge even more on offensive weapons and linemen, in both free agency and the draft, and put the finishing touches on the defense.
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