Trey Lance flew from Cleveland to the Bay Area on Friday morning, meeting the 49ers brass in person for the first time as a member of the team.
It was a big moment for the No. 3 overall NFL Draft pick, one made just a little bit easier knowing he had an ally in the quarterback room.
Incumbent starter Jimmy Garoppolo asked for Lance’s phone number shortly after the North Dakota State product was taken and made a point to connect with him right away.
“One thing that was really heartwarming to me, I heard last night from [49ers PR staffer Mike Chasanoff] that Jimmy reached out,” 49ers general manager John Lynch said. “Trey was here today, and he told us that the first text he got was from Jimmy Garoppolo. That’s pretty special. I think it speaks to his class.”
The 49ers made it clear to Garoppolo early in the offseason that they were planning to draft a quarterback, so Thursday’s selection wasn’t a surprise to anyone. That included the veteran quarterback who led the 49ers to Super Bowl LIV but has battled injury issues during his time in San Francisco.
“Jimmy knew what the deal was,” head coach Kyle Shanahan said. “We have Zoom meetings every day [during the offseason program], and I got to see him earlier that day when we had meetings. Jimmy has been great. … Jimmy is taking a business approach. I think he’s excited right now, just talking to him. He’s ready to come here and get back to being healthy and playing with our team. If we have him compete, I know he’s ready to compete.”
It’s certainly possible, if not likely, that Garoppolo will be the primary quarterback while Lance develops outside the starting lineup. Lance made just 17 starts as a collegian and played just one game in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Development will come faster with Garoppolo helping him do so. That can happen simply using Garoppolo as an example of a professional who runs Shanahan’s system well.
Lance’s only goal at this stage is to absorb what he has learned and apply it on the field whenever possible.
“I’m just focused on getting there, learning as much as I possibly can,” Lance said on Thursday night. “Getting to know Jimmy and the guys in the room and learning. Getting to know him, becoming close with him and, like I said, just learning as much as I can.”