When asked whether, as a pending free agent, he would consider returning to San Francisco, Hyde said, "I feel we've got a chance to go the Super Bowl next year and I don't want to go to another team."
If this were any other 5-10 also-ran, we would scoff at such prognostications and toss any individual suggesting them into the vicious news cycle of mockery and scorn. But this Niners team is different, and Hyde might be on to something.
With Garoppolo at the helm, San Francisco is undefeated (4-0) and has defeated two playoff contenders in back-to-back weeks. Jimmy G has compiled 1,268 yards, completed 69 percent of his passes and thrown five touchdowns in five games and four starts as a 49er. He led a game-winning fourth-quarter drive in last week's victory and got out ahead quickly in San Francisco's win this week. And the Niners are doing this with a motley crew of receivers -- Marquise Goodwin, Trent Taylor, Kendrick Bourne -- and a first-year regime.
Imagine what San Francisco can do to the NFC with another free-agent haul, a draft class that boasts four picks in the first three rounds and a second year of Kyle Shanahan-John Lynch leadership.
Hyde could earn starting tailback money on the open market after playing out his rookie deal, but would he be willing to take a hometown discount to continue his career in Jimmy G's sidecar? His comments suggest it's a possibility.
Hyde isn't alone in his assessment. Niners tackle Joe Staley gushed this week that Garoppolo has a "different aura" about him. Kyle Juszczyk marveled at how the signal-caller "commanded respect" from Day 1. Rookie tight end George Kittle compared Garoppolo's leadership ability to that of Staley, an 11-year veteran.
Garoppolo's legend is growing in the locker room and around the league. As it does, so will San Francisco's reputation as a "destination franchise." One year ago, as the Niners slunk to 2-14, the notion that they were two years away from postseason and Super Bowl contention would have been laughable. Now? It's the narrative.