The news broke Thursday that the 49ers were signing quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo to a five-year extension worth around $137 million with hefty guarantees (I’ve seen one report of $74M, and another for $90M, so …) It isn’t a surprise that the Niners would pay up for Jimmy G, because that was inevitable once he played well down the stretch. San Francisco has lots of cap room and it would make sense to front-load a big deal, because they can absorb it (we will have to wait and see on the structure), and besides, it became clear he was definitely going to be the Niners’ long-term QB.
Jimmy G! Show me the money!!!! Holy moly donut shop!!!
— ♛Chandler Jones (@chanjones55) February 8, 2018
Now, of course, we’ll see the trickle down effect on more accomplished quarterbacks, like Aaron Rodgers and Drew Brees and even Kirk Cousins as they all wait for their next contracts. But bigger picture, it illustrates the potential impact of being able to find that young (i.e. drafted) quarterback that can hopefully help you sooner rather than later, as opposed to getting one established but much more expensive. The Niners, with a ton of cap room, are likely fine for now. But it’s why the Seahawks ascended to where they were for a few years when Russell Wilson was on a rookie deal, why the Cowboys can (should?) contend with Dak Prescott on a cheaper deal and why even the Rams and Eagles are in good spots even with highly drafted QBs. Jimmy G, because his “bargain” years were used up on the bench behind Tom Brady, will never provide such a lift in roster-building.
It’s also why teams needing QBs — like the Cardinals, for instance — benefit from finding someone in the draft. Do that, and the money can be spent elsewhere in trying to create a true contender.
Tags: 49ers, Aaron Rodgers, contracts, Dak Prescott, Drew Brees, Jimmy Garoppolo, Kirk Cousins, Russell Wilson
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Jimmy Garoppolo is not playing against the Cardinals this week. Right?
“I’m expecting to see him, honestly,” cornerback Patrick Peterson said. “I think he’ll start. That’s just my opinion. What do they have to lose?”
(Other than maybe Garoppolo’s head, behind a struggling offensive line that now won’t have left tackle Joe Staley.)
Peterson isn’t the only one. Karlos Dansby said on the “Big Red Rage” Thursday night Garoppolo will play and many of the Cardinals defensive players have said similar things. It makes little sense to me, given how beat up the Niners are and how little time Garoppolo has had to get ready. Jacoby Brissett did start against the Cards for the Colts earlier this year, but that was Brissett’s second week with the Colts, not the first. Dropping in a quarterback that soon is just too complicated on the NFL level, not when you want good results. To be fair, Garoppolo will be active Sunday – as the backup, coach Kyle Shanahan insists – so the door is cracked. No, the Cardinals defense has not played consistently well. But I don’t see Jimmy G happening against the Cards this year. Beginning in 2018, yes.
— Speaking of that defense, which is around the bottom of the league in third downs and scoring, this is a chance to get better. The Cardinals played very well defensively against the 49ers the first time around. The last two road games, however, the Cardinals have surrendered a total of 67 points.
“You have a week off to have a chance to look at yourself in the mirror and be truthful with yourself,” Peterson said. “That’s where we were last week.”
— It’s stunning to believe that these teams met just about a month ago, and neither starting quarterback is on their team’s active roster.
— For all the struggles on the road of late – and there have been some ugly ones – if the Cardinals win Sunday it will be the 20th road win for coach Bruce Arians, which would be a franchise record.
— The Cardinals, especially with Drew Stanton, won’t make the mistake of underusing Adrian Peterson. He’ll get his carries. It’ll be up to the blocking up front, but Peterson will be getting more than 11 carries this week. If you go back to Stanton’s lone start/win in 2016, when he won in San Francisco, he threw a couple of TD passes to Larry Fitzgerald although he only had 11 completions. The Cards still scored 33, in large part because David Johnson had a season-high 157 yards rushing. That’s the formula.
— Peterson has 11,983 yards rushing in his career, so he’ll surpass 12,000 in this game. He needs 92 yards to pass Thurman Thomas for 15th all-time, and 138 to pass Franco Harris for 14th place.
— Arians was asked if he’s had any talks with veteran kicker Phil Dawson, who has surprisingly missed five field goals in seven games.
“Phil’s had talks with me,” Arians said. “I haven’t said a word to him. He got a chance to go watch his son and come back fresh and reloaded. I really anticipate him to have a great finish to the season.”
— Adrian Peterson and his wife will be featured on the Animal Planet show “Tanked” tonight at 9 p.m. pacific. The show is about people getting custom-made fish tanks. Peterson’s is a doozy.
— Without Staley, the 49ers could have a hard time handling Chandler Jones on the pass rush. Jones is already on fire with his eight sacks in seven games.
— The Cardinals could be thin at wide receiver. Brittan Golden (groin) and Chad Williams (back) weren’t practicing at the end of the week, although both are game-day decisions. Williams is usually inactive anyway, but if both can’t go, the other wideouts need to stay upright. Arians also said tight end Ifeanyi Momah, formerly a receiver, can play there.
— It’s a short week. The Cards have to turn around and host the Seahawks on a Thursday night, and regardless of what happens in the Bay Area, they will be much more short-handed than last year when they forged the heartbreaking 6-6 tie at home against Seattle. More heartbreaking would be an inability to get to .500 going into that game. As was being said the last time the Cards were playing the 49ers, this is kinda important.
“We cannot fall any further behind in our division,” Arians said. “I don’t think there is ever a must-game, but this is pretty close.”
See you Sunday.
Tags: 49ers, Adrian Peterson, Bruce Arians, Chandler Jones, Drew Stanton, Franco Harris, Ifeanyi Momah, Jimmy Garoppolo, Karlos Dansby, Patrick Peterson, Phil Dawson, Seahawks, Thurman Thomas
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The trade deadline is only a few hours away in the NFL. Cardinals GM Steve Keim said the team has been “active” in trade talks, but noted there are multiple moving parts for a trade to come to fruition, which is a willing partner, compensation and then how the contract situation of the player(s) involved impact the deal.
“There have to be so many things that have to make sense,” Keim said during his appearance on the “Doug and Wolf” show on Arizona Sports 98.7. “We’ll continue to work the phones.”
Keim did say he thinks the key injuries around the league have increased the action around the trade deadline, which is shaping up to be one of the most active in recent memory.
— Since it was Keim’s first interview since the London trip, he said there wouldn’t be one thing he’d want the Cardinals do do differently other than play better in the game. The logistics and trip itself went well. “I was hesitant with the thought of playing overseas, but what an experience it was,” Keim said. “The one thing that opened up my eyes, and I had no clue, was the international excitement that the fans had.”
— Obviously there were not as many good things to say about the game itself. Keim lamented the inability to run the football, which was a death sentence against such a good Rams defensive line in terms of being able to pass protect. Defensively, Keim said the Cardinals didn’t play with energy and didn’t tackle well.
“The way we played in Europe was flat out unacceptable,” he added.
— Injury updates: Keim said running back David Johnson (wrist) was doing well but the rehab is time-consuming. “We will continue to monitor that to see if he can come back this season,” Keim said.
As for Carson Palmer, Keim said there were a lot of “moving parts” for his potential return as well. He also acknowledged Palmer’s return will be influenced at least some on how the Cards are playing.
(Just judging by Keim’s tone, there was less optimism for returns of those star players than I had figured previously.)
— Keim noted the 49ers have a lot of cap room, which helps them make a trade for QB Jimmy Garoppolo despite a “small sample size.” Keim also said that in a perfect world, he would prefer to draft and develop a quarterback rather than trade for someone like Jimmy G.
“Because you can grow with them,” Keim said. “It not only helps you as a team, from a salary cap structure you can pay minimal money and build a team around him.”
Tags: 49ers, Carson Palmer, David Johnson, Jimmy Garoppolo, London, Steve Keim, trade
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The NFL trade deadline is Tuesday at 1 p.m. Arizona time. Monday night though delivered a pair of NFC West trades — neither involving the Cardinals — that will impact the division for a while. The first was Texans veteran tackle Duane Brown going to the Seahawks for veteran CB Jeremy Lane, a fifth-round pick in 2018 and a second-round pick in 2019. The other was Patriots quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo going to the 49ers for a 2018 second-round pick (which, as bad as the Niners have been, would be near a late first-round pick.)
The Brown deal makes sense for a Seattle team going for it. Their offensive line has been bad for a long time. Russell Wilson is so good, if they can get him a modicum of blocking, that offense — which was awesome against the Texans Sunday throwing the ball — will be that much better. But it’s the Jimmy G trade that gets everyone’s attention. So many teams are looking for long-term answers at QB. The Cardinals are one. Now, the Niners could offer a much better second-round pick. Garoppolo is going to be an unrestricted free agent, so he’s going to be due a lot of money. And frankly, he hasn’t played that much. No one is really sure what he will be. It’s not like Bill Belichick has ever flipped backup QBs where people have had high hopes only to have them be, um, less than expected (Ryan Mallett, Matt Cassel.)
So this will be Kyle Shanahan’s QB choice going forward (no QB in the first round for San Francisco, so that helps the Cards a bit.) He likely won’t play against the Cards this season — it’s hard to see him jumping in the lineup Sunday, especially since the Niners are 0-8 and are going nowhere.
The Cardinals made a trade too, don’t forget. They got Adrian Peterson, he just happened to come a couple weeks ago. As for their future QB, there are still options. Kirk Cousins may be a free agent (although the 49ers were believed to be a possible destination, so he may just stay in Washington.) There is the draft. At some point very soon, the Cards will have to address that. I don’t see how it can’t be this spring at the latest.
Tags: 49ers, Duane Brown, Jimmy Garoppolo, NFC West, quarterback, Seahawks
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No way around it: That one hurt. You can say over and over that it’s the Patriots and Bill Belichick is the arguably the best coach in NFL history, and I do think the Cardinals worked hard this week on avoiding overconfidence, invoking last year’s painful loss in Pittsburgh. Still, losing to the Brady-less (and Gronk-less) Pats would be easier to take if the Cardinals played well and they were outplayed. It didn’t feel that way, though. Losing on a missed field goal actually seemed apropos for the evening. Close, but not enough. The Cards looked off in all three phases.
The last time they lost an opener at home, it was a disappointing outing against the 49ers in 2009. The Cards won 10 games that season. We’ll see how this one plays out.
— Would Mike Leach have delivered a better snap on the final field goal? Probably. But I will say this, I have big-time respect for Kam Canaday, a rookie from Portland State who hasn’t had many chances to be interviewed period but who stood there in front of a flood of cameras and reporters answering questions about a play he’d rather soon forget. He’s in the NFL and it comes with the job, but still, he manned up.
(And props to Chandler Catanzaro too, not only for doing the same but also saying publicly it wasn’t the rookie’s fault.)
— It’s too bad the field goal was missed because a win would have been one of those epic, Fitz-put-us-on-his-back victories. On a day the retirement thing came up again to boot. The vet was spectacular when they needed him.
— Speaking of which, if you get a chance, watch again Fitz’s 21-yard catch on the Cards’ final drive. Down on the field near where Fitz caught it, I have no idea how he did. The ball was on him before he got his head all the way around — it seemed to surprise him how quick it was there — yet he unbelievably snagged the pass and turned it into a 21-yard gain.
— Rough debut for rookie cornerback Brandon Williams, who blew a coverage on a touchdown and had a couple other mistakes. Justin Bethel, dealing with the sore foot, only played special teams I believe. You have to wonder if Bethel getting healthy or newcomer Marcus Cooper getting more practice will change the lineup at any point.
— Bruce Arians said J.J. Nelson could have returned with his shoulder injury. We will see. But there was Jaron Brown making a clutch catch at the end, setting up the final field-goal attempt. He’s there when the Cardinals need him.
— David Johnson looked pretty darn good.
— The defense, overall, didn’t. Or at least, it didn’t look like everyone expected. The Patriots had 363 total yards and converted 10 of 16 third-downs, and it was that last drive that was the killer. The Cards get the lead and then allow Jimmy Garoppolo to convert a 3rd-and-15 from his own 20? Can’t happen. Especially for a 32-yard gain. A stop there, and it’s hard not to think the Cards would’ve been in great shape even only up one with 8 minutes left.
“Back to the lab,” linebacker Kevin Minter said.
Tags: Brandon Williams, Chandler Catanzaro, David Johnson, J.J. Nelson, Jaron Brown, Jimmy Garoppolo, Kam Canaday, Kevin Minter, Larry Fitzgerald, Marcus Cooper, Mike Leach, Patriots
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