The San Francisco 49ers are expected to become strong contenders in the next several years if quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo sustains his excellent play. And if the 49ers reach elite status with Garoppolo calling the signal for them, big-name free agents will likely consider moving to San Francisco.

The 49ers are actually getting the attention of soon-to-be free agents. Detroit Lions wide receiver Golden Tate made it no secret that he wants to play in San Francisco if the Niners keep Garoppolo in the team.

Golden Tate a big fan of Jimmy Garoppolo

Tate said in an interview with Murph & Mach that the Niners made a great move in acquiring Garoppolo.

The veteran wide receiver added that the Niners “found a gold” in the former New England Patriots backup QB.

The 29-year-old admitted that he is interested in playing alongside Garoppolo in San Francisco. He cited how amazed he was with Garoppolo’s unscathed record despite having limited time to prepare and familiarize himself with San Francisco’s playbook this season.

Tate still has one year left of his contract with the Lions. And if given the chance to select his next destination, the eight-year veteran said that he wants to play with Garoppolo in San Francisco.

It remains to be seen, though, if the 49ers will pursue a deal with Tate if he becomes available. The former Notre Dame standout might attract a lot of suitors if he can sustain his strong play.

He had 1,003 receiving yards with five touchdowns in 16 games this season.

Will the 49ers keep Jimmy Garoppolo?

Garoppolo has yet to sign a contract extension with the 49ers, fueling speculation that San Francisco might consider trading the 26-year-old signal caller.

The Press Democrat’s Grant Cohn floated the idea, suggesting that San Francisco should just sign Garoppolo to the franchise tag.

And after doing so, they should trade the Illinois native to teams looking for a quarterback. Considering Garoppolo’s record, the 49ers might get multiple first-round picks in return.

And after giving up Garoppolo for future assets, Cohn added that the Niners should pursue their previous quarterback target -- Kirk Cousins. Cousins is expected to become a free agent after the Washington Redskins traded for Alex Smith, who will be their new starter next season.

Cousins was widely expected to sign with San Francisco in the offseason, but the talks about a possible move ended when the 49ers traded for Garoppolo. But with the negotiation for a contract extension still complicated at this point, there is a chance for the Niners revisit their plan to acquire Cousins.