Why 49ers Appear Intent On Giving Jimmy Garoppolo Franchise Tag In 2018

Like the New England Patriots, the San Francisco 49ers are taking their time with Jimmy Garoppolo. But unlike the Patriots were, they’re quite open about discussing the quarterback’s future.

Garoppolo’s four-year rookie contract expires after this season, leading to speculation about whether he’ll strike a long-term deal with San Francisco this coming offseason or play under the franchise tag in 2018. Niners coach Kyle Shanahan addressed that speculation head-on Saturday, though, hinting very strongly that his team plans to franchise the 26-year-old QB.

“He does not have to play (this season),” Shanahan said during a radio appearance on KNBR 680, via the San Francisco Chronicle. “It’s not that we’re coming to this deadline and we’ve got to decide our future, ours and his, for both sides. We’ve got six games left and we’re going to have next year, also. I know you have to franchise a quarterback to keep him, but quarterbacks are expensive. And that is not that big of a deal to us.”

The Niners have plenty of cap space to sign Garoppolo to a long-term contract, but placing him under the franchise tag might be best for both parties. After all, Jimmy G only has two career starts under his belt — and Shanahan suggested he might not see the field this season — so it would behoove San Fran to take a year to evaluate him in 2018.

Garoppolo, meanwhile, should be more than happy to take a one-year deal north of $21 million after making just $820,077 in base salary this season.

“It would be great if it could work out that way (a long-term contract), but that’s just not the situation any of us are in,” Shanahan added. “So, you want to play it out. That is the good thing about the franchise tag and that’s what, to me, made it an easier decision to trade for him at the time we did to where it’s —  I don’t want to do anything very impulsive that could put our team at risk.”

Thumbnail photo via Sergio Estrada/USA TODAY Sports Images

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