SANTA CLARA -- Blaine Gabbert isn't a stranger to the 49ers, the team he officially joined Friday when he passed a physical to complete his trade from the Jacksonville Jaguars.
Three years ago, Gabbert and Colin Kaepernick met in the predraft process, and Gabbert also got to know the 49ers brass, making a visit to Santa Clara.
"It's an opportunity for a fresh start, and you don't find those very often in the National Football League," Gabbert said Friday on a conference call.
Gabbert, 24, is just one of a handful reclamation projects the 49ers have taken on this week, having also traded for Miami Dolphins offensive tackle Jonathan Martin and agreeing Friday with former Minnesota Vikings cornerback Chris Cook on a one-year deal. All three players were first- or second-round draft picks.
Gabbert, the 10th overall pick in 2011, said he has no issue backing up someone (Kaepernick) drafted 26 spots after him.
"No, you throw egos aside immediately when you get in the NFL," Gabbert said.
Gabbert said he texted Kaepernick soon after the trade Tuesday "and I told him I was looking forward to working with him and helping this team any way I can."
The 49ers' Jim Harbaugh and Trent Baalke evaluated Gabbert at Missouri's pro day in 2011. The 49ers chose to use the No. 7 pick on Gabbert's college teammate, Aldon Smith, but Gabbert is excited about reconnecting with Harbaugh.
"He's had success with Alex Smith and now Colin. He's had a great track record with quarterbacks," Gabbert said. "He's another asset I can use to get better and in return help this team in any way possible."
Gabbert also has a connection with Alex Smith, the former 49ers quarterback who was traded a year ago to Kansas City. Last offseason, the two trained together in San Diego with Chiefs backup Chase Daniel and New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees.
Gabbert looks at Smith's career revival as a blueprint for his own, noting, "He's a guy you look at and try to emulate yourself after, seeing the struggles he went through early in his career and the way he persevered through injuries and all those changes."
Like Smith, Gabbert's early career has been hindered by injuries (shoulder, thumb, hand, hamstring) as well as constantly changing offensive systems.
Asked where he needs to improve most, Gabbert said: "Overall, elevating my level of play. That comes with experience and repetition in practice. I'm going to be the best teammate I can, learn the offense as soon as possible and study my tail off."
The 49ers will send Jacksonville a sixth-round pick in May's draft and potentially a 2015 draft choice depending on Gabbert's playing time next season.
Gabbert is looking to jump-start a career that soured from the start in Jacksonville. He went 5-22 as a starter, including an 0-3 mark last season before being replaced by Chad Henne. Gabbert holds a 66.4 career passer rating and 55.3 completion percentage.
Gabbert's only current competition for the No. 2 role behind Kaepernick is McLeod Bethel-Thompson, who was on last season's practice squad.
Gabbert is slated to make $2 million, more than double Kaepernick's salary ($973,766). There are 27 quarterbacks slated to make more in base salary than Kaepernick, according to NFL Players Association figures.
Cook said the 49ers wanted him for his press-coverage skills, though he cautioned against comparing his 6-foot-2 frame to that of the Seahawks' 6-3 Richard Sherman. "We have similar body types and stuff like that, but I don't compare myself to him," Cook said on a conference call. "I'm coming in to prove myself, do my job to the best of my abilities and help the team on a winning path."
Dixon's departure is expected, given his stated desire for more carries and the 49ers' depth at running back. Frank Gore is backed up by Kendall Hunter, LaMichael James and Marcus Lattimore, and Jewel Hampton (practice squad) shows promise.