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Niners want Jimmy Garoppolo 'for a long, long time'

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As if there was ever any doubt, the San Francisco 49ers like having Jimmy Garoppolo around. Well, they don't just like him. They like him, like him. So much so that they intend to lock him up for the long haul this offseason.

"We want Jimmy to be a Niner for a long, long time," general manager John Lynch told reporters Tuesday. "That process is going to take place here and we're eager to get that done, to have the opportunity."

Garoppolo is a pending free agent, but after his extraordinary close to the 2017 season, an undefeated run in which he beat three playoff teams, threw for 1,560 yards and seven touchdowns with a 67.4 completion percentage and wooed the entire 49ers roster into gushing submission, there's no justifiable excuse for San Francisco to let him walk into the open market. The Niners' options instead are to either franchise-tag Jimmy G or sign him to a long-term contract, potentially making him the highest-paid player in the league.

While Lynch added that he will not talk publicly about the ensuing negotiations with Garoppolo, the GM did offer that he has had conversations with Garoppolo and the organization knows where the QB stands.

"We're going to work hard to keep him as a 49er for a long, long time," Lynch said again. "We want him here."

If the 49ers can manage it, it would behoove the organization to avoid tagging Garoppolo, so as to skirt the annual standoff that former Niners target Kirk Cousins has experienced and continues to experience in the nation's capital.

In a twisted way, Garoppolo's hype-worthy late-season stretch might have even hurt more than helped San Francisco, at least in negotiations. Now, both sides know how transcendent Garoppolo's talent is and how seismic his effect on the slumbering franchise will be. Five straight wins to end the season are nice, but the run increased the chances that Garoppolo and his representation fleece the young general manager Lynch in the offseason. 

This is only the first of many Jimmy G stories to come over the next two months (and decades). Garoppolo's status in San Francisco will be highly monitored, not only because it will set the course for the franchise, but because it might set the market for quarterbacks, many more prolific, in need of new deals -- Cousins, Aaron Rodgers, Drew Brees, Matt Ryan.

Will the Niners treat Garoppolo like one of those league stalwarts and sign him through the next half-decade or get mired in contract details and end up tagging the young star? That's for Lynch to work out.

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