49ers Add QB Depth, Sign Sam Darnold on a One-Year Deal

Sam Darnold with the New York Jets in 2018.
Sam Darnold with the New York Jets in 2018. Photo by Albert Pena/CSM/REX/Shutterstock (9643632n)

The San Francisco 49ers opened their free agency business on Monday by adding depth to their QB room. According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, the 49ers signed former third-overall pick Sam Darnold to a one-year deal.

Darnold joins the 49ers after spending the past two seasons with the Carolina Panthers. He started six games in 2022, throwing for 1,143 yards, seven touchdowns, and three picks while the Panthers went 4-2.

The San Francisco 49ers already have two quarterbacks on their roster in Trey Lance and Brock Purdy. But the issue is that both of these signal-callers are coming back from serious injuries and might not be ready to start the season. Lance is currently recovering from a season-ending ankle injury, while Purdy recently underwent surgery to repair a UCL tear in his throwing arm.

Sam Darnold will hope that a year under head coach Kyle Shanahan, one of the most respected offensive minds in the game, can help him resurrect his career. Darnold was a highly-rated prospect when he was selected third overall by the New York Jets in 2018 and was considered the team’s quarterback of the future. However, after three years of sub-par performances, the Jets traded him to the Panthers in exchange for pair of picks, including a second-round selection in 2022.

Darnold had an encouraging start with Carolina, winning his first three starts, but an injury prevented him from continuing the great run. Once he came back, he was again mediocre, which led him to lose the starting job on multiple occasions.

Darnols is 21-34 as a starter in NFL and has 11,767 passing yards, 61 touchdowns, and 55 interceptions on his resume.