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San Francisco 49ers QB Jimmy Garoppolo says he'll help No. 3 overall rookie draft pick Trey Lance

Lorenzo Reyes, USA TODAY
·4 min read
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San Francisco 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo knows what it's like to be drafted into a franchise as a high-profile rookie passer with a veteran incumbent already on the squad.

Now, with Garoppolo serving as the veteran, he said he's willing to pay it forward and will help rookie quarterback Trey Lance, similar to the way Tom Brady helped him when the Patriots drafted him in the second round of the 2014 draft.

"It's kind of coming full circle," Garoppolo said Tuesday on ESPN Radio. "You go through this NFL career and you start as a young guy coming in. Tom kind of showed me the ropes. The competition between us was awesome. It really made me grow as a rookie and as a young player. So, that's kind of what me and Trey, we'll mold our relationship into that. But it will happen naturally. It's one of those things you can't force anything. Just let it come as it may."

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San Francisco 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo is looking forward to working with rookie Trey Lance.
San Francisco 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo is looking forward to working with rookie Trey Lance.

The Niners just selected Lance out of North Dakota State with the third overall pick in the 2021 draft, after they traded up from the 12th spot.

Garoppolo, 29, has played in the NFL for seven seasons, but has dealt with several injuries along the way. He has played only one season without missing a game, in 2019, while serving as a team's full-time starter with the 49ers.

In San Francisco, Garoppolo has compiled a 24-9 record as a starter, completing 67.5% of his passes for 7,352 yards with 46 touchdowns and 26 interceptions.

Garoppolo said he texted Lance after the team selected him to welcome him.

"I try to use my own personal experiences and just what I went through what helped me, what challenged me as a young player," Garoppolo added. "I'm going to use those tools that helped me and try to help Trey out. It's hard to come into this league; I know how it was coming from an FCS school to the NFL. It's a bit of an adjustment, the speed, whatever you want to call it, it's just different. So, whatever I can do to help him, I'll be more than happy."

Because San Francisco spent so much draft capital to move up to select Lance, Garoppolo's time with the team might be nearing its end as the franchise would need to justify the move. Niners coach Kyle Shanahan and general manager John Lynch, though, have maintained that they want to keep Garoppolo.

"I want Jimmy to be here, and I want this kid brought along," Shanahan said Thursday after the team drafted Lance. "I want to see how (Lance) does, and if it turns into a competition, it turns into a competition. I'd be excited about that if he showed he was ready for it and stuff."

Trey Lance poses with a jersey after being selected as the third pick by the San Francisco 49ers.
Trey Lance poses with a jersey after being selected as the third pick by the San Francisco 49ers.

Shanahan added that "it'd be very hard for me to picture a situation where Jimmy's not here" and that it would be "very stressful for us, because Jimmy's a very good player and I think we can win with him."

Garoppolo told ESPN Radio that the 49ers' front office had been transparent about its plans to draft Lance and that he was simply grateful for the opportunity to play.

Garoppolo, though, will count $53 million against the salary cap over the next two seasons, according to spotrac.com, potentially complicating his future with the team.

Despite that, Garoppolo stressed that his goal is to hold onto the starting quarterback job that he has held since the 2017 season when San Francisco traded for him.

"The chip will always be there," Garoppolo said. "That hasn't gone away at all. Since I got in the league, I've had that. I think that kind of comes from just the way you were raised and everything like that. My dad was an electrician, blue-collar guy, and I think it kind of just rubs off on you.

"It's kind of the way the league is going nowadays. Everybody is drafting young, wants to get the developmental guy and things like that, so I kind of know what it is. I've been on both sides of it now, but at the end of the day, like I said earlier, all you can really ask for is the opportunity. Once you get that, you've got to take advantage of it."

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: 49ers' Jimmy Garoppolo says he'll help rookie quarterback Trey Lance