C.J. Beathard's window to become the franchise quarterback for the 49ers, the team that made him a third-round draft pick last year, likely closed shut when a late-October trade sent Jimmy Garoppolo from New England to San Francisco. That does not, however, mean the second-year quarterback has nothing to gain as Garoppolo's backup.

Beathard gained valuable experience during his rookie campaign, starting five games while appearing in six (he also had a Week 4 appearance against the Arizona Cardinals but did not throw a pass). He passed for 1,430 yards with four touchdowns and six interceptions in those appearances.

Beathard's most impressive performance came during the 49ers' first win of the season when he passed for 288 yards, two touchdowns, an interception, and a passer rating of 123.4 in a 31-21 victory over the New York Giants.

Two weeks later, Beathard exited a game against Seattle due to an injury. Garoppolo entered the picture, and the rookie quarterback didn't play another snap.

"I think, more than anything, I learned the ins and outs of the game," Beathard said in February. "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."

Garoppolo is the present and future in San Francisco. Where does that leave Beathard? A bit forgotten.

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

Still, Beathard can continue to learn a lot from Garoppolo and head coach Kyle Shanahan. The quarterback knows the reality of the situation, though. Garoppolo, not Beathard, is the face of the franchise. That is not likely to change.

"C.J.'s a smart guy, and he understands, I think, what everyone else does," Shanahan said on Friday. "I think it was somewhat hard for C.J. when Jimmy came here because Jimmy had a pretty good opportunity. And Jimmy came and played extremely well. I think everyone could see that and I think C.J. did too. I think that made it a little bit easier because Jimmy played at such a high level.

"I think C.J. does believe in himself and believes he can start in this league and I know I do too. I think this is a good thing for C.J., that he can get better through this stuff."

Beathard has no shortage of self-confidence. Like Shanahan, he believes he can develop into a starter. While that may not necessarily be in San Francisco, the quarterback is focusing on the situation at hand and hoping his time will eventually come.

"In my eyes, I see myself as a starting quarterback in the NFL," Beathard said. "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."

Shanahan was thrilled when the 49ers drafted Beathard last year. While fans may not have viewed the quarterback's rookie campaign as overly impressive, his head coach believes he has improved since Year One. Shanahan says Beathard looks more decisive in his second offseason with the team.

"I've always thought very highly of C.J.," Shanahan said. "I thought he played very well last year and we put him in as tough of a situation as I think a rookie could be put in. Sometimes that breaks guys and C.J. is mentally and physically as tough as any quarterback I've ever been around. He doesn't care how many times he gets hit.

"If he makes a bad play, that guy believes in himself, and he works at it so he always corrects his mistakes. That's why I think he'll always get better."

For Beathard, he likes where the 49ers are headed. He's more than willing to accept his role on the team and do his part to ensure its success.

"We've got a lot of young talent, a lot of good players," Beathard said. "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."