It's pretty safe to say 2019 is going to be an awfully important year for the San Francisco 49ers and quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo.

Just under a year removed from his devastating ACL injury suffered in Week 3 last season, Garoppolo will look to finally live up to the lofty expectations placed on him when the Niners inked the quarterback to what was then a record-setting five-year, $137.5 million deal back in early 2018.

Now entering year two of that deal, Garoppolo will need to live up to that contract, too.

If all goes right, however, NFL.com's Bucky Brooks believes Jimmy G could easily wind up in the discussion for the league's Comeback Player of the Year award when 2019 comes to a close:

It could be a make-or-break year for Jimmy G, with the 49ers looking for franchise-quarterback play from their $137.5 million asset. The sixth-year pro could respond in splendid fashion with a strong performance in an upgraded offense under Kyle Shanahan's direction. Considering how the offensive guru elevated Nick Mullens a season ago, Garoppolo could play at an MVP level for San Francisco this season, with a number of new weapons at his disposal.

Not just a comeback player, perhaps an MVP candidate, according to Brooks.

Garoppolo still has just 10 NFL-level starts under his belt. And while the 27 year old flashed some notable promise at the end of the 2017 season, his 2018 efforts before his ACL injury were so-so at best.

Fortunately, the 49ers offense looks to be in far better shape than it was a year ago at this time. San Francisco, which retained all five of its starters along the offensive line, will look for a repeated Pro Bowl-caliber effort from third-year tight end George Kittle. The team also added the versatile running back, Tevin Coleman, into the mix and then drafted promising rookie wide receivers Deebo Samuel and Jalen Hurd in Rounds 2 and 3 of this year's NFL Draft, respectively.

On top of that, Garoppolo now has more than a full season immersed in Shanahan's complex, yet highly effective offensive system.

If things go south, however, Garoppolo's future with the 49ers could be under some doubt. But if he comes close to reaching a would-be ceiling, Brooks might wind up being right about his prediction.
  • Peter Panacy
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    Peter Panacy has been writing about the 49ers since 2011 for outlets like Bleacher Report, Niner Noise, 49ers Webzone, and is occasionally heard as a guest on San Francisco's 95.7 FM The Game and the Niners' flagship station, KNBR 680. Feel free to follow him, or direct any inquiries to his Twitter account.