The 49ers are signing veteran quarterback Sam Darnold to a one-year deal, according to multiple reports. The move comes after 49ers general manager John Lynch admitted at the 2023 NFL combine that the team “may need to look at the [veteran] quarterback market” following major injuries to Trey Lance and Brock Purdy during the 2022 season.
Lance entered the season as the 49ers starter after being selected third overall in the 2021 NFL Draft, but suffered a broken ankle in Week 2 against the Seahawks and missed the rest of the season. Purdy, the last pick in the 2022 NFL Draft, led the 49ers to a 5-0 record to finish out the regular season in relief of injured veteran Jimmy Garoppolo. The 49ers then beat the Seahawks and Cowboys in the playoffs with Purdy under center before losing to the Eagles in the NFC Championship Game, during which Purdy tore the UCL in his throwing elbow.
Lance and Darnold figure to receive the vast majority of snaps under center during OTAs and training camp this coming offseason as Purdy recovers from elbow surgery, which he underwent Friday. Garoppolo reportedly agreed to a three-year, $67.5 million contract with the Raiders on Monday, completing his long-expected departure from the 49ers in free agency.
After a standout college career at USC, Darnold has mostly disappointed in the NFL since being selected third overall by the Jets in the 2018 draft. After three underwhelming seasons in New York, Darnold was traded to the Panthers before the 2021 season.
He played in 18 games over two years with the Panthers, passing for 3,670 yards, 16 touchdowns and 16 interceptions.
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