He was tipped to be the next Tom Brady, but Jimmy Garoppolo’s contract isn’t quite what tipsters were expecting. Born on November 2, 1991, and raised in Arlington Heights, Illinois, Garoppolo is the quarterback for the Las Vegas Raiders. He didn’t actually start out wanting to be a quarterback, though.
Standing at 6”2’ in the sixth grade, Jimmy G started as a tight end and linebacker, soon to become a running back. Every time his coach Bob Viti asked him to take on the QB role, Garoppolo refused. “He never told me why,” Viti told Bleacher Report in 2018. As it turns out, Garoppolo didn’t want to take the position off of his best friend, Dan Lowry. “I didn’t know about quarterbacking,” he told Bleacher Report. “Nobody in my family had ever done it.”
A linebacker up until 2008, he pivoted to quarterback and watched tapes of then-Patriots legend Tom Brady slinging passes and was instantly inspired. Garoppolo finished high school with 3,136 passing yards and 25 touchdowns in 19 games at quarterback.
He played college football at Eastern Illinois University and during his time there, Garoppolo set numerous school records and won the Walter Payton Award, which is given to the most outstanding offensive player in the Football Championship Subdivision (FCS). “And, obviously, he got the girl attraction,” John Wurm, an EIU linebacker and Jimmy’s current best friend, told Bleacher Report. “It was ridiculous. Jim never led a girl on, though, or dated a girl.”
He was selected by the New England Patriots in the second round of the 2014 NFL Draft (62nd overall) and served as the backup to Tom Brady for several seasons, earning him another nickname: Baby Brady. But Brady was suspended by the league for four games for Deflategate (the allegation that Brady ordered the deliberate deflation of footballs used in the Patriots’ victory against the Indianapolis Colts during the 2014 AFC Championship Game on January 18, 2015), and head coach Bill Belichick named Garoppolo the starting quarterback for the first game of the 2016 season, and he was expected to stand in for Brady for all four games.
In exchange for a second-round draft pick, Garoppolo was traded to the San Francisco 49ers in 2017 but a year later, he sustained a season-ending ACL tear, and his career in SF was checkered after he returned. For a quarterback plagued with injuries, here’s what Jimmy Garoppolo’s contract with the Raiders looked like.