Heading into late October, San Francisco didn't have their long-term answer at the quarterback position. Brian Hoyer was a failed "bridge" experiment and rookie C.J. Beathard was tough, but didn't have the potential to be a future starter in the NFL.
This offseason, GM John Lynch and Head Coach Kyle Shanahan turned over the entire team, established a stable culture, installed a new offensive/defensive system, yet they had only won one game through 11 weeks. The most valuable position on the field happened to be the one that Lynch and Shanahan didn't have an answer for -- until Bill Belichick called.
It was just before Halloween, yet it felt like Christmas for most 49ers' fans. The rumor that the 49ers had traded for New England Patriots' backup QB Jimmy Garappolo spread and suddenly the outlook on the season had changed. #TeamTank became #TeamRunTheTable.
With basically the exact same roster, but Garappolo running the show, the 49ers have won their last two games and look to keep it going against Tennessee this week. The most difficult thing in the NFL is finding a franchise quarterback and the 49ers were gifted one with Jimmy Garappolo.
I don't know where the ceiling is for the trio of Lynch, Shanahan and Garappolo, but they'll be contenders sooner than later. But I do know this, all the hope that 49ers' fans currently have is due to the fact No. 10 is in the building and looking solid in his first two starts.
Some fans are going to argue that the braintrust of the 49ers would have still figured it out -- but who would've been their quarterback? Many experts thought that San Francisco was gearing up for a run at Washington's Kirk Cousins, which would've cost them a shiny penny. The day before the 49ers traded for Garappolo, there was a rumor that USC's Sam Darnold was their favorite college quarterback.
There's no guarantee that the 49ers head in the same direction with either Cousins or Darnold. The Redskins' QB isn't as young or doesn't have as a high of a ceiling as Garappolo, while Darnold hasn't even taken a snap in the NFL.
The 49ers' fortune changed when Garappolo entered the building and they should thank Bill Belichick for gifting him to them.
Here are some recent quarterback trades that'll help you realize that the second-rounder that the 49ers sent for Garappolo is peanuts:
QB Sam Bradford traded to the Vikings for a 1st and 4th-rounder.
QB Carson Palmer traded to the Raiders for a 1st and 2nd-rounder.
QB Jay Cutler traded to the Bears for 2 1st's, a 3rd-rounder and Kyle Orton.
And Jimmy Garappolo was traded for a 2nd-round pick. Think about that.
The success that the new group of 49ers' will have will always be pointed back to the trade that Bill Belichick gifted John Lynch.