New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady has repeatedly stated that he wants to play until he is 45 years old. And who is about to become an unrestricted free agent after Brady's age 45 season? One Mr. Jimmy Garoppolo, who was signed to a massive five-year, $137.5 million contract with the San Francisco 49ers today – the largest deal in league history when measured on a average-per-year basis.
Garoppolo joined the 49ers at the trade deadline in October and started five years for the team, going a perfect 5-0. The 26-year old posted solid number along the way, completing 120 of 178 pass attempts for 1,560 along with seven touchdowns and five interceptions. It became fairly certain from the time that Garoppolo was shipped to San Francisco that the team valued him highly and was looking for a way to keep him long-term – which it now did.
Garoppolo, who was in the final year of his contract and about to enter unrestricted free agency in March, will be paid at a historical level moving forward: The deal, per ESPN's Adam Schefter, will include the largest three-year total in NFL history and, according NBC's Matt Maiocco, come with guarantees totaling $74 million – numbers Garoppolo would never have gotten from the team that made him a second-round draft pick in 2014, the Patriots.
New England found itself at a crossroads this season with Garoppolo up for free agency and Tom Brady still playing at a historically high level. The team ultimately opted to go with Brady, despite the greatest quarterback the NFL has ever seen being 40 years old, and decided to trade his backup to San Francisco in exchange for a second round pick and basically ex-Patriot Brian Hoyer.
So far, the trade worked out well for both teams but it remains to be seen how it is judged five years from now, when Brady's career will (possibly) be over and Garoppolo is up for a next contract. And, of course, when the Patriots have found the next franchise quarterback – the one Garoppolo ultimately did not turn out to be.