San Francisco 49ers 2017 Season Recap

Thus far, we have covered teams that experienced disappointment in one form or another over the course of 2017. But here, we discuss a team who was to be considered an abomination for the foreseeable future, but due in part to a general manager's penchant for making favorable trades, hope has returned to the...

San Francisco 49ers

2017 Record: 6-10

2016 Record: 2-14

What Happened: Entering 2017, the 49ers were floating adrift in the NFL ocean, victimized by poor decisions by management and unexpected player departures which hastened San Francisco's demise. Under new GM John Lynch and new head coach Kyle Shanahan, the Niners were now on the road to rebuilding the franchise. In October, a major piece of the puzzle fell in place, as Lynch pulled the trigger on a trade deadline deal that brought QB Jimmy Garappolo aboard for the sum of a second round draft selection. Taking over for a 1-10 squad, Garappolo was inserted into the starting lineup for gain some playing time. What would occur would be a 5 game win streak to close out the year, with a cool, collected Jimmy G leading the way. The new era of Scarlet and Gold football have found a key piece to making a winner: a starting quarterback they can rely upon.

What Happens Next: With Garappolo a potential free agent, Lynch was not about to risk losing what they perceived to be a franchise caliber player to the open market. With that, Garappolo signed what would be the most lucrative player contract in NFL history (at least until Kirk Cousins signed with the Minnesota Vikings). Garappolo's salary is now in the same neighborhood as the likes of Cousins, Matt Stafford, & Matt Ryan, which means the expectations around the young signal caller has exponentially increased. Don't be surprised if Garappolo struggles at first, as living up to such a high standard can mentally weigh down some players. But if the QB plays like he did to conclude 2017, then the 49ers could challenge for a playoff spot, if not be the strongest opposition to the LA Rams in the NFC West. The addition of veterans like CB Richard Sherman (Seattle), RB Jerick McKinnon (Minnesota), & OG Laken Tomlinson (Detroit) will only improve the synergy that Lynch and Shanahan are trying to build in San Fran. Was the end of 2017 a springboard to a better future or a flash of brilliance that may take more than a single campaign to refine? Only time will tell.