Back in 2014, Jimmy Garoppolo joined the New England Patriots as a rookie quarterback looking to challenge an established veteran.
Seven years later, he’s on the other side of that equation — but with nowhere near the job security Tom Brady enjoyed in New England.
Garoppolo will need to fight for his job this summer and beyond after his current team, the San Francisco 49ers, traded up to select North Dakota State quarterback Trey Lance third overall in the 2021 NFL Draft last Thursday.
On Tuesday, Garoppolo discussed his and Lance’s impending training camp competition during an appearance on ESPN Radio’s “Keshawn, JWill & Zubin.”
“It’s kind of coming full circle,” Garoppolo said. “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.”
The 29-year-old Garoppolo quarterbacked the Niners to a Super Bowl appearance in 2019 but otherwise has struggled to stay healthy, missing 13 games in 2018 and 10 last season.
The former Patriots backup was the subject of frequent trade rumors throughout the pre-draft process. But with New England no longer in the QB market after drafting Mac Jones in the first round and the inexperienced Lance potentially needing to sit and learn before he’s ready to start at the NFL level, the odds of Garoppolo remaining in San Francisco this season are high.
Garoppolo — who, like Lance, played at a Football Championship Subdivision school (Eastern Illinois) — said he plans to help the 20-year-old rookie in his transition to the pros.
“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 said in his radio interview. “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.”