49ers envision Jimmy Garoppolo as ‘QB of the future' even as free agency looms


SANTA CLARA – Discussion about the possibility of a long-term contract was not a top priority for Jimmy Garoppolo on Tuesday upon his arrival at 49ers headquarters.

"I just got off the plane like an hour ago,” he said. “I haven’t even thought about that, to be honest.”

Garoppolo spent time with 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan before the 2014 draft when Shanahan was the offensive coordinator of the Cleveland Browns. Despite placing a high grade on Garoppolo and Derek Carr, the Browns ended up drafting Johnny Manziel before both of them.

Garoppolo on Tuesday met general manager John Lynch and CEO Jed York for the first time. Although it appears Garoppolo wants to be the 49ers’ franchise quarterback as much as the 49ers want that from him, there is no reason to rush it before he has even stepped on a practice field with his new team.

The 49ers can sign him to a contract extension before the start of free agency. Or, the 49ers could place the franchise tag on him to retain his rights for at least another season.

“We brought him here because we want him to be the quarterback of the future,” Shanahan said.

Less than 24 hours earlier, Garoppolo received a call from Patriots coach Bill Belichick to inform him of the deal that sent him to the 49ers for a second-round draft pick.

“When I first found out, I can’t even describe how excited I was,” said Garoppolo, who turns 26 on Thursday. “My time in New England was great. I thank them for everything, but coming to such a great organization, it really is a privilege. I’m excited about it. It’s going to be a good thing.”

Lynch and Shanahan spent plenty of time together last offseason discussing and formulating a plan of attack for the quarterback position. Lynch suggested a call was placed to New England last offseason to gauge whether Garoppolo available. The Patriots quickly expressed no interest in pursuing a trade of Garoppolo.

But with the trade deadline approaching on Tuesday, this time was different with Garoppolo's free agency looming after the season. The 49ers had to make a decision whether to send the Patriots a draft pick or wait until free agency and attempt to sign him without spending any draft capital.

“Second-round picks are very valuable in this league, especially where we are as an organization,” Lynch said. “And, so, this is the guy we wanted. And we were willing to give what we thought was a very valuable commodity in exchange for him.

“We thought about if for about 10 minutes and said, ‘This is too good of an opportunity to not take advantage of.’ So we jumped at it.”


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