Here is a Super Bowl Sunday prediction 49ers fans will love: a long-term deal with Jimmy Garoppolo reportedly could get done "in the near future."
That is what NFL Media's Ian Rapoport claimed Sunday morning, some 11 hours before kickoff of Super Bowl LII that pits Garoppolo's former team, the New England Patriots, against the Philadelphia Eagles.
The 49ers, sources told Rapoport, have gained "significant momentum" on a multi-year contract with Garoppolo, who arrived in an Oct. 30 trade and transformed the franchise with a 5-0 finish to the season.
If a long-term deal is not brokered, the 49ers have roughly four weeks to put the "franchise tag" on him -- a window that opens Feb. 20 and closes March 6 -- before he would otherwise become a free agent March 16. Once tagged, the 49ers would have until July 16 to resume long-term contract talks until he'd have to play 2018 under the one-year franchise tender of over $23 million.
"There is work to be done over the next several days, but sources said the optimism coming from the organization has been warranted," Rapoport wrote.
Garoppolo was a 2014 second-round pick of the Patriots, where he sat behind five-time Super Bowl winner Tom Brady and made only two starts at the onset of the 2016 season.
Upon joining the 49ers in return for a 2018 second-round draft pick, Garoppolo spent a month learning coach Kyle Shanahan's playbook before replacing rookie C.J. Beathard and winning all five of his starts, including road wins at Chicago, Houston and a season finale at the Los Angeles Rams. His home wins came against AFC playoff entrants Tennessee and Jacksonville.
General manager John Lynch vowed after the season that contract talks between the 49ers and Garoppolo's agent, Don Yee, would remain confidential, and Lynch has since then only publicly said the 49ers were "working hard" toward a deal.
Prior to the recent Senior Bowl, Lynch told the NFL Network: "I think he wants to be with us and we want him there. I think it makes too much sense not to happen. So it's just a matter of getting it done."
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