49ers, Sam Darnold Agree to terms

According to Adam Schefter, the San Francisco 49ers have agreed to terms with quarterback Sam Darnold.

The third pick in the 2018 NFL draft, Darnold won just 13 games over the first three seasons of his career with the Jets. The former USC Trojan was traded during the 2021 offseason shortly after former 49ers defensive coordinator Robert Saleh was named head coach for New York.

Starving for a quarterback, the Carolina Panthers sent a 2021 sixth-round pick and second and fourth-round picks in 2022 to New York in exchange for Darnold.

After another down season in 2021, Darnold was replaced by Baker Mayfield and P.J. Walker to begin 2022.  Darnold got another chance after Mayfield was benched due to poor play and Walker was injured.

The veteran made the most of his opportunity, leading Carolina to a 4-2 record over the final six weeks of the season after a 3-8 start to the season. Darnold finished 2022 completing just 58.6 percent of his 140 passes with seven touchdowns and three interceptions.

The addition of Darnold is an upgrade at the back end of the 49ers quarterback depth chart.

During Kyle Shanahan’s tenure in San Francisco, the 49ers have used three quarterbacks during a season on four occasions.

Last season saw the 49ers go through four quarterbacks. Trey Lance started the season but lasted just five quarters before being lost for the year. Jimmy Garoppolo replaced Lance in the starting lineup, making ten starts before an injury against Miami put knocked him out. Brock Purdy then stepped in, and led the 49ers to the NFC championship game before getting knocked out just six plays in. Despite not being able to throw, Purdy was forced back into the game when Josh Johnson was lost due to a concussion.

This article has 28 Comments

  1. During Kyle Shanahan’s tenure in San Francisco, the 49ers have used three quarterbacks during a season on four occasions.

    I thought I read somewhere that the NFL was considering bring back the Emergency QB gameday roster spot again. Which means that they might not have 3 QBS on the roster. I personally don’t think Purdy will be ready until at least mid October or later. So Purdy will likely be on IR for awhile and not take up a roster spot.

    1. Shanahan has needed three QB starters to get through the season in every year as the Niners head coach except for 2019. He’s a hapless, hopeless soul. Three quarterbacks or four, the SB will continue to elude him. What I fail to understand is how Shanahan has continued to bamboozle just about everyone on this blog, especially Foolish Felix. Thank goodness, Grant Cohn is around to set everyone straight.

        1. 55Niner
          49ersUnderKSraBust sounds more like KS hater 49Reasons?
          We haven’t heard from him for awhile, did he get banned from the blog and is posting incognito now?

  2. Jack,
    Thanks for being on top of the FA moves.
    This is an interesting signing. I’m not a big Darnold fan simply because he’s never had any success in the NFL.

    Perhaps the 49ers only view him as no more than a 3rd QB option with no aspirations of moving up the QB cycle.

    Sudfelt was Darnold without the college and draft pedigree, imho.

    1. Sudfelt was Darnold without the college and draft pedigree, imho.

      Perhaps the 49ers only view him as no more than a 3rd QB option with no aspirations of moving up the QB cycle.
      Darnold would not command typical #3 QB money. In fact he’d probably be considered a good #2 option. So I’m guessing the cap strapped 49ers signed a young veteran QB with more than clip board holding for the back up QB in mind.
      Sudfelt is a 6’6″ statue that could robotically execute a game plan under optimal conditions.

      Darnold is far more nimble and fluid with the ability to improvise and adjust arm slots and throw (fairly accurately) from weird angles. Darnold is erratic but talented.

      Purdy isn’t likely back until October (even if he’s on schedule…which I find unlikely….he’ll be ready by early September and will likely need to get into game shape/shake the rust by October). Lance has no lock on the starting job going into the season. He’ll get his opportunities. But if for some reason Darnold out plays Lance; I’m sure the 49ers have no problem starting Darnold and then see how it goes from there.

      1. I agree with you Allfor.
        Darnold is talented.
        But Darnold has had many opportunities to advance his play and he’s always come up short. Darnold is a rain cloud that doesn’t produce water.

        It’s only my preference and opinion, but I would take Sudfelt over Darnold.
        That said, I trust the 49ers with this move. They have a much better idea of what they want than I do.

  3. It will be interesting to find out the terms of this contract. I expected a lesser quality QB but maybe the Niners got a good deal. The Niners goal was probably to have someone push Lance during OTA.s and TC. That’s probably a good idea as last year he only had Sudfield to push him which probably didn’t help much.

    1. Lance best mentor was Jimmy G, during his rookie year and last season after Trey was injured.
      Sudfelt is no more than a 3rd string QB, which could be the same recipe for Darnold.

  4. Darnold has never played for a good/talented team. He had his best run as a starter with Carolina last year. He took a team that was getting rid of any talent they had for draft picks and went 4-2 with the best stats of his career. I agree with Allfor he very likely will be the 9ers #2 QB for between 2 to 5 weeks. The only HC he has ever played well for is Steve Wilks. Unless they over paid for him (4 mill or more) I think this is a very good signing. Hopefully the NFL will change the rules on activating #3 QBs.

    1. Coach,
      I would love to be wrong, but this signing (for me) is reminiscent of the Josh Rosen one. Both QB’s were very good in college, but so far have been unable to translate that to the pro level. Darnold’s pro career numbers prove that he will never meet the level of play at USC.
      But, I’m hopeful that he could help the 49ers.

  5. Darnold is a great pick up, Suddfeld cant hold his jock strap. SD played on really bad teams with poor coaching and never got a chance to develop. Hes very young, and comes here without the pressure of carrying a bad team on his back. He has tremendous physical talent, hence the 3rd overall draft slot. He has tremendous upside, unlike Duddfeld and other career back ups

  6. These numbers don’t add up for me.

    “Darnold, 25, has completed 59.7 percent of his passes for 11,767 yards with 61 touchdowns and 55 interceptions in 56 game
    appearances (55 starts) through his five NFL seasons with the Jets and Panthers.”

    There’s been QB’s on bad teams whose numbers have been better. We had one here named Jimmy G early in the Lynch/Shanahan regime. But I like that he’s still young and that he’s not here to be a Starter.

  7. AES,
    Check out his games with Carolina. Its the best 6 game stretch of his career. Wilks must have given him a big thumbs up. I hope that if Lance can’t stay healthy for the first quarter of the year he can step in and play like he did last year. Have we heard yet what they are paying him?

    1. Well, if Darnold gets a chance to play a string of games due to an injury to Lance, he has to do good.
      The excuse that he’s never played on a good team will no longer be applicable.

  8. Darold’s contract is reported to be 4.5M with 3.5M guaranteed. I think that’s a reasonable price to pay him. This is a strong QB room now and they are likely to add someone late in the draft.
    C Ward’s contract has been reworked to save 10M this year and with the loss of J Ward and McGlinchey they should be in good shape cap wise unless they go after an expensive replacement at either position. if they resign Mosley, they can move Lenoir to nickel. I think they are done with major moves. They will need to get some safeties in the draft and maybe a lower priced on in FA. With 11 picks they should be able to add some good depth on both lines.

    1. When I see Taylor Heinicke getting a 2 yr, $20mil contract from the Falcons, Darnold’s deal looks like a steal.

    2. . I think they are done with major moves.

      They need a Center. The 49ers do not currently have a Center that has taken an NFL snap on the roster.

      They also still need a kicker. However it’s more likely for them to get a drafted rookie, UDFA or street free agent to be the kicker than an inexperienced Center.

        1. Where did you hear that? I can’t find anything about his resigning. That would be good news.

          1. I haven’t seen anything on it yet either but I would be surprised if they don’t get a deal done.

            1. I’ve checked out many 49ers websites this morning and not one has made an announcement regarding Brendel. The latest news, I received about Jake is that the Texans are interested in him.

  9. Other than Moseley I think the 9ers are done in free agency other than late next week big time bargains. I hope one of those bargains is A. Key. If they are done I see them drafting in the 3rd round OT, DE and possibly either a K or CB (nickle back) I know everyone will say thats too early for a K but we have had the most consistent K for the last 5 years and he has been the difference in many game. I would rather see them jump the gun and draft the kid from Mich early than have them wait and get a questionable K who could cost us games especially playoff games. imho

  10. “The #49ers are bringing back C Jake Brendel on a 4-year deal, source said. The #Jets made a push, but he’s back in SF.”

    Jack was right. Brendel is still a 49er! I really like this re-sign. Continuity is important.

  11. Great to see that they signed Brendel but shocked they didn’t resign Mosely. He went to Chicago on A 1year deal for 6M. Very surprising.

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