(FORTUNE Magazine) – Elvis Grbac, backup quarterback for the San Francisco 49ers, has had ample opportunity to prove himself lately while starter Steve Young has been injured. Grbac has been superb, leaving no doubt that he will receive multimillion-dollar offers from all over the NFL. Of course, the 49ers want Grbac, 26, to stick around. They promise he'll eventually be the starter when Young, 35, retires. This put us in mind of the corporate world and its myriad succession puzzles. Jim Kelly's decision to wait patiently behind Oz Nelson certainly paid off. Kelly has just been named CEO of UPS. But the same strategy seems to be backfiring for Michael Ovitz, the No. 2 at Disney. So what's Grbac's next play? "Right now he's at his peak," says Jeffrey Sonnenfeld, a management professor at Emory University's B-school. "He has a good reputation. This is the time to be a starter." His career advice: Jump ship!