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Does Jimmy Garoppolo make 49ers preferred FA destination?

Jeff Smith



December 24, 2017; Santa Clara, CA, USA; San Francisco 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo (10) celebrates after the game against the Jacksonville Jaguars at Levi's Stadium. The 49ers defeated the Jaguars 44-33. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports
Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

There’s something about young, up-and-coming teams that attracts the common sports fan. The teams who have gone through their rebuild and have a few rising stars on the roster have fans who can’t wait to buy the jersey of The Next Big Thing. The San Francisco 49ers have exactly that in quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo, who is not only making NFL fans root for him but is almost certainly making his team even more appealing to free agents.

While we’re still a few weeks away from the official start of 2018 NFL free agency, there’s no question that the 49ers should be active. The team has over $74.5 million in cap space, according to Over The Cap, and plenty of areas it could address via the various free agents who are set to hit the open market.

Obviously, for many free agents, money is one of the biggest factors in where they choose to play, but San Francisco has Garoppolo and other young players with tremendous upside. If the money is on the table, why would a free agent choose to go elsewhere?

Garoppolo isn’t going to single-handedly draw a player to the 49ers in free agency, but aside from the money being offered, most NFL players just want to win. The Cleveland Browns have been an undesirable location for quite a while, and while they have some young talent of their own, there’s no promising signal caller or leader in place.

The 49ers have the third-most cap space in the NFL. From there, based on the information we have from Over The Cap, the top 10 teams ranked by available cap space are as follows:

  • Cleveland Browns: $110 million
  • Indianapolis Colts: $77 million
  • San Francisco 49ers: $74.5 million
  • New York Jets: $73 million
  • Tampa Bay Buccaneers: $60.5 million
  • Houston Texans: $56.6 million
  • Tennessee Titans: $49.4 million
  • Minnesota Vikings: $49 million
  • Washington Redskins: $48.9 million
  • Detroit Lions: $44.7 million

Of the names on that list, there are quite a few question marks at the quarterback position, and you could argue that the Texans (Deshaun Watson), Titans (Marcus Mariota) and Lions (Matthew Stafford) have quarterbacks who could make a difference in free agency. Jameis Winston of the Buccaneers and Alex Smith of the Redskins could also find their way onto that list as well.

Regardless, you’d be hard-pressed to argue that any of them aside from Watson and Mariota are in situations as appealing as the 49ers’, specifically because of Garoppolo being in town. The 49ers are a young team on the rise, and NFL free agents almost surely view the situation in San Francisco to be appealing. They could potentially finish a rebuild and push this team over the top — not just to the playoffs, but the Super Bowl.

Garoppolo is a huge selling point in free agency, but the 49ers’ situation is the big draw to free agents. Don’t be surprised if they wind up landing a few big names, assuming they choose to go that route instead of the draft.

Jeff has been writing about sports since the age of 17, and has done everything from breaking and viral news, to original content, to original reporting. He's worked for FOX Sports covering the NFC South, while also being a featured columnist and covering daily fantasy football and basketball for Bleacher Report. Other sites that Jeff has been featured on include SBNation, The Cheat Sheet, RotoWire, The Inquisitr and RotoBaller.