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Raiders, Jimmy Garoppolo agree to terms on 3-year contract

Updated March 13, 2023 - 6:39 pm

On the first day of NFL free agency, the Raiders addressed their biggest need and built a short-term bridge to their quarterback of the future.

They also added a potential starting safety in veteran Marcus Epps and cornerback depth in Brandon Facyson.

The big news, of course, was at quarterback when the Raiders came to terms on a three-year contract with free agent Jimmy Garoppolo barely two hours into the opening of the legal tampering period. The former 49ers quarterback, who helped guide San Francisco to one Super Bowl appearance and two NFC championship games in six seasons, replaces longtime starter Derek Carr, who fell out of favor with the new regime and was released after the season.

Garoppolo, 31, joins the Raiders on a far more cost-effective contract than Carr’s, coming in at $45 million guaranteed on what is essentially a two-year deal at just over $22 million per season. Carr was scheduled to be paid $33 million in 2023 and $73 million over the next two seasons.

The extension Carr signed last year topped out at $121 million over three seasons, whereas Garoppolo is to make $67 million if he fulfills the three years. The money saved enables the Raiders to address other needs, specifically a defense in search of multiple starters and depth at all levels.

Garoppolo reunites with Raiders coach Josh McDaniels and general manager Dave Ziegler, both of whom worked with the Patriots during Garoppolo’s time in New England. That familiarity was a key component in Garoppolo’s decision to sign with the Raiders rather than the Texans, who also pursued him.

The length and sturdiness of the bridge Garoppolo provides is largely dependent on his ability to stay healthy, which was a constant issue in San Francisco and one of the primary reasons the 49ers began forging a path away from him the past two years.

Garoppolo has managed to play one full season, in 2019. The 49ers went 13-3 that season and advanced to the Super Bowl, where they lost to Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs. The ensuing seasons saw Garoppolo play six, 15 and 11 games.

That included last season when he broke his foot and missed seven games, including the 49ers’ postseason run to the NFC championship game.

When Garoppolo is on the field, he’s proven to be effective, completing 67.2 of his passes for 14,289 yards and 87 touchdowns against 42 interceptions. His record as a starter is 40-17.

But the issue was the time he missed with the 49ers. Hence, the need by the Raiders to bring in a quality backup or, more ideally, invest in the draft in a quarterback they can groom, now more than ever with last season’s backup, Jarrett Stidham, leaving for Denver on a two-year contract Monday.

Stidham started the final two games last season after Carr’s benching and was eyeing a chance to be the Raiders’ starter this season. His contract agreement with the Broncos essentially signaled the Raiders were closing in on Garoppolo and knocking Stidham out of consideration as their starter. The Garoppolo deal was agreed upon less than 30 minutes later.

Garoppolo’s deal guarantees him $34 million upfront. Should he play the 2023 and 2024 seasons with the Raiders, the deal will pay him $45 million with the chance to earn more through incentives.

By not getting tied up on a long-term deal, the Raiders can now turn to the draft to potentially bring in their quarterback of the future.

Epps comes to the Raiders from Philadelphia, where he spent the past four seasons and played a career-high 1,095 snaps during their Super Bowl run. The 27-year-old safety is a noted run defender and tackler, and is expected to work in tandem with free safety Tre’von Moehrig.

Facyson, 28, appeared in 16 games with the Colts last season, including four starts, and recorded 26 tackles. The cornerback spent the previous season with the Raiders and recorded a career-high 55 tackles.

Contact Vincent Bonsignore at vbonsignore@reviewjournal.com. Follow @VinnyBonsignore on Twitter.

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