The San Francisco 49ers knew they were in an advantageous situation when it came to giving quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo a record-setting deal.
The 49ers had an incredible amount of cap space. San Francisco and the Cleveland Browns were the only two teams with more than $100 million in projected cap space for 2018. As such, the 49ers could take the sting out of Garoppolo’s record-setting $137.5 million deal by front-loading it. And did they ever.
ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported details of Garoppolo’s deal, and a major takeaway is the 2018 cap number. It’s $37 million according to Niners Nation, which is by far the largest salary-cap number for a player in NFL history. Baltimore Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco led the NFL in 2017 at $24.55 million according to Spotrac. Detroit Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford was slated to have the highest cap number in 2018, at $26.5 million. Garoppolo’s number is more than $10 million more than that.
Details on Jimmy Garoppolo deal: pic.twitter.com/Lq0d1QBJwR
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) February 9, 2018
While the $37 million figure is shocking, it makes sense. It allows the 49ers to have more manageable (albeit still large) cap numbers of $20 million, $26.6 million, $26.9 million and $27 million over the final four years of the deal. And amazingly enough, the 49ers still have about $76.8 million in cap space after Garoppolo is accounted for, Niners Nation said.
The structure of the deal should also give the Browns some ideas. Kirk Cousins is set to hit the market, and is the most attractive quarterback to hit the open market in many years. The Browns now have a ton more cap space than any other team. While Cousins has said he wants to play for a winning team, and the Browns certainly haven’t been that, Cleveland can structure a deal that could blow any other team’s offer away, and front-load it like Garoppolo’s deal so it wouldn’t cripple them in the future. Then the Browns could use the first and fourth picks on other impact players, or trade them for even more valuable draft capital.
The 49ers’ deal with Garoppolo was pretty shocking, considering he has only seven career starts. His 2018 cap number is even more shocking.
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