The 49ers have found their insurance for Trey Lance and Brock Purdy.
According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, the 49ers have agreed to a one-year deal with veteran quarterback Sam Darnold. NFL teams started legally negotiating with free agents on Monday morning at 9 a.m. PT and deals can be announced once the league year resets on Wednesday at 1 p.m. PT.
Darnold, who spent the past two seasons with the Carolina Panthers, gives the 49ers a decent backup without breaking the bank.
Lance is rehabbing from an ankle/foot injury he suffered in Week 13 and has the inside track on the QB1 job after Purdy underwent shoulder surgery last week that is expected to keep him out six months. The 49ers officially parted ways with Jimmy Garoppolo, who reportedly has agreed to a three-year contract with the Las Vegas Raiders, opening up a spot for Darnold in the QB room.
The 25-year-old was drafted No. 3 overall in 2018 by the New York Jets but never panned out with the organization, going 13-25 in 38 starts before being traded to Carolina for draft picks in 2021. Darnold went 8-9 in 17 career starts with the Panthers, including a 4-2 mark last year. His best season came in 2019, when he set career highs in passing yards (3,024) and touchdowns (19) while leading the Panthers to a 7-6 mark as a starter.
While he isn’t mobile like Lance, Darnold is more like Purdy, a passer who is athletic enough to make plays outside of the pocket. But Darnold has trouble taking care of the ball, as he has 61 career touchdowns, 55 career interceptions and 13 career lost fumbles.
The 49ers were also connected to veteran quarterbacks like Matt Ryan and Jacoby Brissett in rumors. Darnold now finds himself one Lance injury away from being the main man under center, at least until Purdy is healthy.
After going through four quarterbacks last season en route to the NFC Championship, the 49ers won't mind having an overqualified QB3 this year.