The 49ers weren't going to let Jimmy Garoppolo get away. On Thursday, the team awarded the quarterback with a five-year, $137.5 million contract, including $74 million in guarantees, reports NBC Bay Area's Matt Maiocco. The 26-year-old quarterback with seven career starts is now the NFL's highest-paid player in terms of average annual salary. His $27.5 million per season, on average, is $500,000 more than the Lions' Matthew Stafford.

There's more: 

Garoppolo was traded from New England to San Francisco in late October and all it took was a second-round pick. And after a month of learning the 49ers offense, Garoppolo took over the starting job in Week 13 and proceeded to win five straight games. He took a team that was 1-10 at that point and led them to a 6-10 finish. 

Given the 49ers' recent run on substandard quarterback play -- Brian Hoyer, C.J. Beathard, Blaine Gabbert and Colin Kaepernick in just the last two seasons -- they weren't going to let Garoppolo get away. 

There are concerns that Garoppolo's limited body of work makes such a big contract a dangerous proposition. But Garoppolo, who was the NFL's most efficient quarterback among those attempting fewer than 200 attempts, had long been on the 49ers' radar. Coach Kyle Shanahan had tried to draft Garoppolo in 2014 when he was the Browns offensive coordinator.

"I think people [in the Browns' organization] heard me, but the results weren't there,'' Shanahan said in February 2017. "I think there were a lot of people who liked Garoppolo. There were other quarterbacks we liked, too. We put a board together. We rank every one. Then, the people who make the decisions, you have to wait and see what happens. As a coach, it's like that at a lot of places. You have to deal with what happens."

The Browns instead traded up in the first round to take Johnny Manziel.

Perhaps the biggest surprise isn't that the 49ers have paid Garoppolo so handsomely after just a month's work, but that they had the opportunity to do so at all. Last offseason, there were reports that the Patriots were looking for multiple first-round picks for Garoppolo, who up until that point appeared to be Tom Brady's successor.

That they shipped him to San Francisco for a second-rounder could end up being one of the most lopsided trades in NFL history.

For now, the Pats still have Brady, who at 40 is better than ever. But for the first time in a long time, the 49ers have their franchise quarterback too.