While fans await word on a new contract for San Francisco 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo, one player that has been somewhat forgotten is C.J. Beathard, who was also a starter this past season. Beathard appeared in six games (not counting a brief Week 4 appearance against the Arizona Cardinals) and started five games for the 49ers.

Garoppolo took over the starting quarterback job during Week 13 and led the 49ers to five consecutive victories to end the season.

Beathard, who himself replaced former 49ers quarterback Brian Hoyer, still believes he can be a starter in the NFL. The quarterback joined Matt Steinmetz and Daryle Johnson on 95.7 The Game on Wednesday to discuss his rookie season and losing the starting job to Garoppolo. Beathard's opportunity to start was a valuable experience for him.

"I think, more than anything, I learned the ins and outs of the game," Beathard said. "Being able to get those reps is invaluable. A rookie getting in there, getting five starts and going out there and getting those reps, I think those are invaluable. I'll definitely take those, and learn from those, and get better from those reps.

"I think I have a long career left. It's only year one, and I'm excited, looking forward to the years to come and the future of this team."

Beathard and Garoppolo have a good working relationship. They helped each other while Beathard started and as Garoppolo acclimated to the 49ers offense.

"He's a good guy, and we have a good relationship," he added.

The learning process never stops for Beathard. He is in Nashville, Tennessee during his time off. So are tight end George Kittle and wide receiver Trent Taylor, who have been working out with Beathard during the offseason.

Once a contract is finalized and agreed upon, Garoppolo will be the franchise quarterback going forward. That makes Beathard, who was drafted in the third round last year, a backup going forward. He still remembers what it was like hearing that the 49ers had traded a second-round draft pick for Garoppolo in late October.

"It was definitely tough when I first heard the news about the whole thing, but that's part of the game," he said.

Beathard believes he will have a long career in the NFL and is willing to do whatever he can to get better, including backing up Garoppolo and learning from him.

"Obviously, you want to be the guy, and I think at some point, I'll be the guy," Beathard said. "In my eyes, I see myself as a starting quarterback in the NFL. Whenever that is, however that is, time will tell. But right now I'm just going to do the best to help this team, and help Jimmy, and keep competing.

"I think we've got a bright future ahead of us as the 49ers go forward. We've got a lot of young talent, a lot of good players. I think we've got a great coaching staff, we've got a great GM, and I think the future is really bright for the 49ers right now."

Even though Beathard had a full offseason and a number of starts to familiarize himself with head coach Kyle Shanahan's offense, the quarterback believes that he'll greatly benefit from another year within the system.

"I can definitely say I haven't mastered the offense yet," Beathard said. "I think, definitely, going into year two, I'll be a lot more prepared, and know what's coming, and have a lot better idea of the offense, a feel for it. Right now, my rookie year just got over, and I was going in there, getting a play call, and still having to process it as I'm going to the line of scrimmage.

"I think as year two comes around and goes, it's like English. You hear a play, and it just clicks like that. You don't really think about anything."

You can listen to the entire interview with Beathard here.