Almost a year ago at this time, the 49ers were desperate. The once-proud franchise had just come off a 2-14 season and had churned through three head coaches in three seasons. After reaching the NFC Championship Game in the 2013 season with a 12-4 record, the Niners' record fell to 8-8, 5-11 and 2-14.So, hiring the right general manager and head coach after the departure of Trent Baalke and Chip Kelly was not just important, but crucial for the success of the franchise. Since moving to Levi's Stadium, the 49ers' crowds had dwindled and the much-loved Bay Area team was under fire for ineptitude from fans and media alike.A year later, all that has changed.By signing quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo Thursday to a whopping five-year contract worth as much as $137.5 million, the 49ers have signaled they're on the fast track back to contention — a ridiculous proposition after the 2016 season.Lynch and Shanahan saw what they needed to see in Garoppolo in a late-season audition. The former Patriots quarterback guided the 49ers to five straight wins to get the team to 6-10. They now go into 2018 with: a good, young quarterback, plenty of salary-cap space, a full parcel of draft picks, a...