The 49ers on Thursday agreed to a three-year contract extension with the player who became the emotional heartbeat of the 2017 squad, receiver Marquise Goodwin.
According to the NFL Network, the new deal is worth $20.3 million with $10 million guaranteed and keeps Goodwin under contract with San Francisco through the 2021 season.
Most of the 49ers' offensive players saw their statistics bounce with the arrival of quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo last year, perhaps none more than Goodwin. With the team's most veteran wideout, Pierre Garcon, out with a neck injury, Goodwin became Garoppolo's top target and finished the season with a team-high and career-best 962 yards while averaging 17.2 yards a catch. During a three-game stretch in December he had games with 99, 106 and 114 receiving yards.
“From the minute Marquise joined our team, he has shown us everything we want to see in a 49er,” general manager John Lynch said in a statement. "He leads by example with a tremendous work ethic, a trait that helped him expand his repertoire as a football player and post his most successful season as a pro last year. Marquise earned this extension by coming in every day focused on doing his job and, as a result, he made himself and his teammates better.”
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The deal signals that the 49ers are happy with a receiving corps led by Garcon and Goodwin and that also includes up-and-coming slot receiver Trent Taylor. Goodwin joins center Daniel Kilgore and tackle Garry Gilliam as offensive players whose contracts the 49ers have extended in recent weeks.
Last season was tumultuous – oftentimes wrenching – for Goodwin, beginning with his move from Buffalo, where he was used as a No. 3 receiver, to San Francisco, where expectations were far higher.
Early on he and the rest of the 49ers offense faltered, and the initial assessment was that the Bills had it right: The former track star was nothing more than a speedy complement to a team's offense.
Far more difficult than that, Goodwin and his wife in November dealt with the loss of their infant boy, who was delivered premature and stillborn. The next month Goodwin traveled to his native Texas for a funeral service for his father.
The morning he lost his son also proved to be an awakening for the 49ers receiver. He not only mustered the courage to appear in a game that day – he said his wife urged him to play – but caught a long touchdown pass, his first of the season. From then on he caught fire.
Goodwin would have had a chance to surpass 1,000 yards on the season if not for a vicious hit to the head in the finale against the Los Angeles Rams. He was carted off the field with a suspected concussion and taken to an area hospital.
Goodwin went through the NFL’s concussion protocol once previously in 2017 but had been evaluated for a concussion four other times when he was with the Bills. He's routinely downplayed the hits to the head he's received in his career.
"I think the people in the stands were more scared than I was," Goodwin said on a Thursday conference call of the hit in Los Angeles. "I guess from how it looked and me being unconscious for a few seconds."
The hit by the Rams rallied the 49ers that day – they scored an emotional touchdown on the next play – and underscored just how beloved Goodwin is in the locker room.
He began wearing all white after his son's death, and his position mates did the same on the trip to and from Los Angeles. After the season, teammates voted him the winner of the Len Eshmont Award, which goes to the 49er who best exemplifies the inspirational and courageous play of Len Eshmont, a member of the original 49ers team. He was also San Francisco’s winner of the Ed Block Courage Award, which is presented to the player who exemplifies a commitment to sportsmanship and courage.
"That was awesome," Goodwin recalled of the touchdown against the Rams. "To have my teammates have that type of energy and that sort of passion when I went down, it shows the type of locker room that we have and the type of guys we have on our team. ... They felt like they had to do something about (the hit). And they made it happen."