While he'll probably lose his job to the rookie quarterback at some point, that hasn't stopped Jimmy Garoppolo from building an early connection with Trey Lance on the San Francisco 49ers.
Lance told KVRR's Jackson Roberts that Garoppolo has been an invaluable resource as he approaches his first season in the NFL:
"He’s a great guy. I mean, one of the best people I’ve been around and I’ve been fortunate to be around some, I think, really really great people, guys that are going to play today and guys still in that locker room right now. Jimmy is just like it and that organization is the same exact way. So I just feel very blessed and fortunate to be where I am and be able to be a part of something like this. I’ve heard from other guys’ experiences and how we handled OTAs and things like that, our coaching staff and everyone that runs that organization does it at a really high level."
In theory, building a mentor-mentee dynamic in the quarterback room sounds great. Implementing that plan can be a little trickier in practice.
In one of the more famous examples from recent years, Brett Favre didn't exactly roll out the red carpet for Aaron Rodgers after the Green Bay Packers selected Rodgers in the 2005 draft.
ESPN's Seth Wickersham painted the picture of a strained dynamic between Garoppolo and Tom Brady when they were teammates on the New England Patriots, too. Garoppolo, however, said in January 2020 that he and Brady "always had a great relationship."
The 29-year-old compared his current situation to his time in New England, only that he's effectively in the Brady role now. He explained on Keyshawn, JWill & Zubin in May that "it's kind of coming full circle."
"You go through this NFL career and you start as a young guy coming in," Garoppolo said. "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."
A team always risks putting a first-year quarterback in a difficult position when the incumbent starter is sticking around. A level of resentment can fester inside the locker room, or you can have a situation where the older player is "not worried about developing guys or any of that."
That doesn't appear to be an issue for the 49ers right now.