The San Francisco 49ers saw little of their franchise quarterback-to-be Jimmy Garoppolo in his first full season with the team in 2018. A season-ending ACL injury in Week 3 kept the Niners quarterback out of our sights and minds.
Last we heard of the signal-caller, San Francisco coach Kyle Shanahan intimated in October that Garoppolo would be ready to go by organized team activities.
Three months later, that prognosis remains the same, this time delivered by Niners general manager John Lynch.
"We're hopeful he's going to get to take part in our OTAs," Lynch told NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport on the *RapSheet & Friends* podcast. "That's the plan, and he hasn't had any setbacks, so he's doing really well. I'm really proud of him too."
Lynch said that Garoppolo and running back Jerick McKinnon, San Francisco's two big offseason signings who both suffered season-ending knee injuries, are competing in rehab to out-recover one another.
"Jimmy is vigorously trying to catch Jet, who is trying to separate from Jimmy, and so there's competition going on as well," Lynch told Rapoport. "I think both those guys will tell you that's really helped them, (having) somebody to go through it with. It's fun."
There's a cloud of mystery over Garoppolo and this Niners roster. Jimmy G's absence turned what was looking to be a promising season with playoff possibilities into a disappointing 4-12 campaign played to a chorus of "what ifs."
While division rivals Los Angeles and Seattle made the playoffs and the former rode a young QB-coach combo to the Super Bowl, San Francisco was left on the sidelines and at the top of the draft, waiting its turn or at least until its signal-caller was healthy enough to play again.
Garoppolo has started just 10 career games and eight in San Francisco. After New England traded him cross-country ahead of the 2017 trade deadline, Garoppolo's five stellar starts, all wins, earned him a five-year, $137.5 million extension. Whether Jimmy G was worth the investment depends on how he recovers from ACL surgery and plays in a full 16-game slate.
"Kyle, we all got together and said this can't be a wasted year in terms from the neck up, in terms of talking football. That was one of the hard things," Lynch said. "Jimmy needs to play. He hasn't played a ton of games. How can you try to recreate that? How can you try to grow from the neck up and in your football acumen, his ability, and experience in this system?"
The 49ers announced Thursday that center Weston Richburg (knee/quad) and defensive back D.J. Reed (shoulder) are expected to miss the team's entire offseason program following offseason surgeries.