Jimmy Garoppolo has 8.5 million sources of motivation for 49ers

SANTA CLARA, Calif. -- After a long offseason full of twists and turns, quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo returned to the San Francisco 49ers because he viewed them as not only a comfortable fit but the team that would set him up for maximum success in 2022 and beyond.

"You always have to think about that," Garoppolo said. "As much as you're in it for the wins and everything like that, you have to look into the future a little bit, contract situations and all that. And I think everybody does that to a certain degree, and you have to be smart in that sense of it, but at the end of the day, I'm a 49er right now and I'm happy about that."

Garoppolo's happiness took a hit with a disappointing loss to the Denver Broncos on Sunday night, but his bank account has been the better for what's happened since he stepped back into the starting role. Garoppolo has played at least 25% of the snaps in two games, earning an additional $500,000 for meeting that threshold and another $100,000 for his part in the Week 2 win against the Seattle Seahawks. He can earn another $350,000 if the 49ers defeat the visiting Los Angeles Rams on Monday Night Football (8:15 p.m. ET, ESPN/ESPN2/ESPN+/ABC).

"Now that you said it, it feels good," Garoppolo said after he was informed he'd earned $350,000 for the Seattle win. "You're not thinking about that stuff out there. You're in the game, you're flowing with the game, trying to get guys ready so, I don't know, I was kind of in that mode, but yeah, that's always a nice positive."

As he's quick to point out, Garoppolo isn't necessarily in it for the money -- he has, after all, been paid almost $124 million by the team since he arrived in 2017 -- but it is a nice bonus for a player who agreed to cut his base salary from $24 million to $6.5 million in order to stay in San Francisco.

Of course, part of the reason for that agreement is that Garoppolo's $26.9 million salary cap number for 2022 included no guaranteed money. His re-worked deal guaranteed all of the $6.5 million in base salary, with the potential to earn up to $15.45 million if Garoppolo hit all of his incentives. It also included a no-trade and no-tag clause, which gives Garoppolo total control of what happens to him in 2023.

In the meantime, Garoppolo has a chance to earn back a significant chunk of the money that was chopped from his contract when he agreed to stay in the Bay. Here's how he can do it:

  • For every game Garoppolo is on the active game day roster, he earns $29,411, up to a total of $500,000 for the season.

  • For every game Garoppolo plays at least 25% of the offensive snaps, he earns $250,000. Because Garoppolo did not do this in Week 1, the maximum he can earn this season is $4 million.

  • For every game Garoppolo meets the above snap incentive and the Niners win, he earns $100,000. Because Garoppolo did not do this in Week 1 or Week 3, the maximum he can earn this season is $1.5 million.

  • If Garoppolo plays at least 50% of the offensive snaps in a playoff game, he earns $500,000.

  • If Garoppolo plays at least 50% of the offensive snaps in the NFC Championship game, he earns $500,000 and could earn another $500,000 if the 49ers win it.

  • If Garoppolo plays at least 50% of the snaps in the Super Bowl, he will earn another $1 million.

All told, Garoppolo still has an additional $8.5 million in incentives he could earn this season. Although that's unlikely considering that would mean he would have to stay healthy and the Niners would have to win every game the rest of the way to get all of it, there's no doubt Garoppolo has plenty of chances in front of him to add to his already robust bank account.

Not that any of that will change Garoppolo's laid-back approach to doing his job.

"Really, he is just like that in every situation since we've met him," coach Kyle Shanahan said. "That's how Jimmy is, and he tries to simplify things and not get caught up in all that stuff. And just tries to communicate with us. We communicate with him and I think that's why our guys love him. And that's why we all do, he's been that way since the beginning."