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49ers ink QB Garoppolo to record deal

The Associated Press

Jimmy Garoppolo

The Associated PressSANTA CLARA, Calif. (AP) — Jimmy Garoppolo signed a record-breaking, five-year contract with the San Francisco 49ers on Thursday that will pay him a reported $137.5 million to keep him off the free-agent market next month without forcing the team to use the one-year franchise tag.

NFL Network first reported the terms of the contract, which is worth $27.5 million per season to top the previous record set by Detroit’s Matthew Stafford last year by $500,000 per year.

San Francisco acquired Garoppolo from New England before the trade deadline for a 2018 second-round pick. As soon as he took the field a few weeks later, he turned around a club that started the year 1-10.

Garoppolo took over as starter and led San Francisco to five straight wins to end the season. That solidified the organization’s belief in him and the willingness to offer him the largest average per year contract in NFL history.

While Garoppolo lacks the track record of the top QBs in the NFL after spending most of his career as Tom Brady’s backup with New England, what he has shown when he has gotten on the field has been impressive.

He completed 67.4 percent of his passes this season, averaging 8.8 yards per attempt with seven TDs, five interceptions and a 96.2 rating. Among quarterbacks with at least 100 attempts last season, Garoppolo ranked first in yards per attempt, fourth in completion percentage. His 308.4 yards passing per game in his five starts also would have led the league had he played a full season.

Garoppolo has won all seven starts in his career, including two in New England to start the 2016 season when Brady was suspended for his role in “Deflategate.” Only four other quarterbacks since the 1970 merger won their first seven starts with Ben Roethlisberger the most recent to do it with 15 wins in a row in the regular season for Pittsburgh in 2004-05. Garoppolo’s 2,038 yards passing in his first seven starts are the fourth-most among all quarterbacks since 1970.

Locking up Garoppolo is the first big step this offseason in San Francisco’s rebuilding plan that got off to a strong start last season in the first under coach Kyle Shanahan and GM John Lynch.

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