Jimmy Garoppolo understands life in the NFL. It's a what-have-you-done-for-me-lately job, and the 49ers felt they needed to make a move to raise their future ceiling at quarterback.
They did so by trading up to the No. 3 pick in the 2021 NFL Draft and selecting Trey Lance. Garoppolo is expected to be the starter this season as Lance develops, but the clock clearly is ticking on his time as a 49er. It would be easy for Garoppolo to be salty about the decision, but tight end George Kittle says that nothing has changed with Garoppolo in the locker room.
Whether it be last spring's Tom Brady flirtation or the arrival of Lance, Garoppolo has taken it all in stride and set the proper tone for a team expected to compete for a Super Bowl.
"He's Jimmy G, I haven't noticed a difference at all," Kittle told NFL Media's Mike Silver on the "Pass It Down Podcast." "That's what has been so fun about it. It's honestly just been, we just had OTAs, we've been practicing, we've been hanging out. I catch balls from whatever quarterback throws it at me and it's fun they have a good room of four guys. ... It's a fun, unique group. I think they are all very different personalities. Like I said Jimmy has been doing great. He just goes out there and throws the ball."
Head coach Kyle Shanahan cut the 49ers' offseason program short after injuries to Jeff Wilson Jr., Justin Skule and Tarvarius Moore, but he did say that he believes this is the best spring Garoppolo has had since coming to the 49ers. Shanahan also has been impressed with Lance in the rookie's first NFL minicamp and OTAs.
Garoppolo admitted that the offseason trade talk has motivated him heading into this season. While he did briefly think about requesting a deal, the 29-year-old instead is ready to compete to hold onto the job that has been his for the last three-and-a-half seasons.
"You can’t listen to everything but you know when something real does happen you have to react to it properly,” Garoppolo told KNBR's "Murph & Mac". “I want to say it’s just white noise but it definitely motivates me, I’m not gonna lie. That’s the competitor in all of us. You hear things like that, at the end of the day there’s only one quarterback out there but you want to go compete and do whatever you can to be that guy, so it’s kind of a motivator in the back of your head."
Throughout the uncertainty, Garoppolo has proven to be an even better leader than previously believed and that's something that could help him hold off Lance in 2021.