Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports



It's evident by now that Jimmy Garoppolo is not a fluke. The new San Francisco 49ers quarterback has won four consecutive games in his contract-year audition with the team and done so with the same roster that went 1-10 without him. Garoppolo has won over his coaches, teammates, and the Niner Faithful. Now, it is time for the 49ers to pay the man who will put fans in the seats of Levi's Stadium next season.

The 49ers have two options to retain Garoppolo beyond Sunday's game against the Los Angeles Rams. They can franchise him at the projected cost of about $23.5 million or sign him to a long-term contract. The latter would be the ideal scenario for both parties.

Adam Schefter of ESPN joined KNBR on Thursday morning and discussed the contract situation between the 49ers and Garoppolo.

"First of all, there's a great relationship between both sides, and I would say they'll be having conversations," Schefter said on the "Murph & Mac" show. "[Chief strategy officer] Paraag [Marathe] and [agent] Don [Yee] have a great relationship, and it's something that I think will be very, very amicable going forward. I would think that they'd have discussions. I would think that they would sit down and meet perhaps in person at some point. Maybe in Indianapolis. Usually, the agents have to go there for the agent recertification meetings. All teams are in attendance. There's a lot of meetings that go on there.

"I don't think it's a real difficult deal to get done if that's the direction the Niners want to go in. I really don't. If Jimmy Garoppolo has such a lofty number in mind that it's not palatable to the 49ers, then maybe at that point you use the franchise tag. But I think Don Yee has shown over time that he's very willing to do deals like this, very capable of doing deals like this, very good at doing deals like this. It should not be a difficult negotiation."

In June, Oakland Raiders quarterback Derek Carr signed a new five-year, $125 million deal, which at the time was the largest contract in the history of the NFL. Two months later, it was eclipsed by a new five-year, $135 million deal for Detroit Lions quarterback Mathew Stafford.

Those numbers bring into question the worth of someone like Garoppolo, who will have started just seven NFL games after this weekend. Is he worth the same type of contract valued in the $25 million per year range?

Schefter answered that question with a question of his own.

"If Jimmy Garoppolo were on the open market today, what would the Arizona Cardinals or Denver Broncos be willing to pay him per year on average?" he asked.

Schefter believes that Garoppolo would be able to earn an average between $23 million and $25 million per year from a quarterback-needy team, which the 49ers are.

"Maybe it's $21 million with more guaranteed money and incentives for doing certain things," Schefter continued. "There's a lot of different ways you can go about this. It's all in the structure of how you want to do it."

The 49ers have enough salary cap surplus to guarantee Garoppolo remains with the team for years to come. The question will be his perceived worth. For a team that has failed for years to address the quarterback position adequately, money probably won't be a big issue if San Francisco feels Garoppolo is its franchise quarterback.

Schefter points out that, in the grand scheme of things, the difference between $22 million per year and a slightly higher number should not matter. It certainly will not matter to fans who just want to see the 49ers continue to win.

You can listen to the entire interview with Schefter below.