guard Donovan Mit

Jimmy Garoppolo could have waited and cashed in even more than he did after other quarterbacks re-set the market.

The San Francisco 49ers could have used a franchise tag instead of making a long-term commitment to make sure Garoppolo was worth a hefty investment after only seven NFL starts.

But both sides wanted this resolved quickly JK Scott Color Rush Jersey , and did so with a contract that will pay Garoppolo a record $27.5 million per season over the next five years.

”This is where I want to be, honestly,” Garoppolo said at a news conference Friday. ”I wanted to get this deal done as fast as possible. It will only help our team going forward going into free agency. … I wanted to be here. I was excited to be here. I’m happy we got it done as fast as we did.”

Garoppolo’s $137.5 million contract has the richest annual value in NFL history, topping the deal Detroit’s Matthew Stafford signed last year by $500,000 a season.

The deal includes nearly $49 million that is full guaranteed, more than $74 million guaranteed for injury and more than $86 million that will be paid out over the first three seasons.

The franchise tag could have been a safer option for both sides, leading to more money for Garoppolo if he kept playing at the high level he showed this past season and more protection for the 49ers if he didn’t reach that level.

But neither side was eager to go that direction.

”We became convinced we had that as an option, but we didn’t want to use it,” general manager John Lynch said. ”We wanted to make Jimmy a 49er for a long, long time. Do you have to have some faith for that? Absolutely. But he earned that faith we had for him. I know it wasn’t a super long time but we felt we had a really good grasp on the talent and that was only confirmed when he got here.”

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 Mark Andrews Color Rush Jersey , he immediately turned around a franchise that started the year with a 1-10 record.

Garoppolo took over as starter and led San Francisco to five straight wins to end the season. 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.

Now he will have a full offseason to completely learn coach Kyle Shanahan’s offense, which could lead to even more production.

”Now the rush isn’t quite the same,” Shanahan said. ”He can start from the beginning and start from the first page and not the 50th page. He can get a better foundation. When you have a better foundation of where you’re coming from and learning, it gives you a chance to play at a higher level.”

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 http://www.billsauthorizedshops.com/...-gaines-jersey ,038 yards passing in his first seven starts are the fourth most among all quarterbacks since 1970.

The deal still leaves the 49er with more than $60 million in salary cap room, according to executive vice president Paraag Marathe, with several more holes to fill. The most glaring needs are upgrading the skill position players and interior of the offensive line, and finding a big-time pass rusher and cornerbacks to help the defense.

Lynch said he plans to be ”aggressively prudent” with that money but believes this deal will help sell the organization to potential free agents, including some who played for San Francisco this past year.

”One of the reasons for the urgency, if there was some for us, was heading into free agency this is a big deal,” Lynch said. ”It’s 75 degrees and sunny outside. We have this guy. Who wouldn’t want to be here? We want to become a destination where everyone wants to be.”





OKLAHOMA CITY — After losing Gordon Hayward to the Boston Celtics in the offseason, it looked like it would be a long shot for the Utah Jazz to make the playoffs.

But after a rough start, the Jazz won 29 of 34 games before losing their regular-season finale to drop to the No. 5 seed in the Western Conference.

They’ll open the playoffs Sunday at Chesapeake Energy Arena against the Oklahoma City Thunder Ian Thomas Color Rush Jersey , a team that looked like a lock to not only make the playoffs but compete atop the conference. But the Thunder didn’t solidify their place in the playoffs until a win in the next-to-last game of the season.

The series is one of the more intriguing first-round matchups, with Utah’s 7-foot-1 center Rudy Gobert providing a rim-protecting presence to combat Thunder superstar point guard Russell Westbrook.

Gobert has also taken over as a leader after the departure of Hayward.

That included a strong statement after the Jazz dropped a game in Atlanta in late January to fall nine games below .500. At the time, Gobert tweeted, “We will be fine.”

“It’s only brighter from that point,” Gobert told the Salt Lake Tribune. “I looked at our team, our organization, and I thought, ‘Why not turn things around?’ We were 19-28, but we had everything in our hands. We knew we were going to turn.”

That turnaround hinged in large part on Utah’s defense, which figures to play a big part in the series as Oklahoma City’s pick-and-roll combo of Westbrook and center Steven Adams will be tested and Paul George plays in his first postseason with the Thunder.

“As the playoffs go Authentic Isac Lundestrom Jersey , the game slows down some, teams are really conscientious of getting back in transition,” Thunder coach Billy Donovan said. “You’re always trying to find ways to carve out a way to get some easy baskets, whether it’s offensive rebounds, free throws, backdoor cuts.

“But sometimes up against the clock, you need guys that can generate offense for your team, or who can make a play, make a shot or make a play for somebody else.”

Oklahoma City won the regular-season series 3-1, but the Thunder had defensive stopper Andre Roberson available for all four of those games. Roberson suffered a season-ending injury in late January Ben Gamel Seattle Mariners Jersey , eventually opening the door for Oklahoma City to sign Corey Brewer.

George figures to draw perhaps the most important defensive assignment, taking over for Roberson in guarding Jazz rookie guard Donovan Mitchell.


“I’m used to these matchups,” George said. “I’m used to playing against the best offensive guy in these moments. That’ll be my role. Not to say Corey won’t guard (Mitchell), but that’ll definitely be my role, especially late in games.”

George guarded Mitchell on only 27 possessions during the four regular-season meetings, going 4 of 7 from the floor. Roberson guarded Mitchell for 78 possessions.

“He’s a really good attacking guard in the open floor and in transition,” Donovan said of Mitchell. “Obviously with the way he can shoot it, I think his strength and physicality. He does a lot of different things for them in transition and in half court while also creating for himself.”
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