March 30, 2023

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49ers agree to a one-year deal for QB Sam Darnold, source says

ESPN2 minutes to read

The San Francisco 49ers have agreed to a one-year deal for former Carolina Panthers quarterback Sam Darnold, a source tells ESPN’s Adam Schefter.

He cements the 49ers’ depth at quarterback with the exit of Jimmy Garoppolo from the Las Vegas Raiders and both Brock Purdy and Trey Lance returning from injuries.

Darnold, 25, took a step last season toward rebuilding a career that has been on the decline since he was selected with the third pick of the 2018 draft.

He went 4-2 over the Panthers’ last four games after being activated from injured reserve, throwing seven touchdowns to three interceptions and rushing for two touchdowns.

He was a stark contrast to the player who went 13-25 in three years with the Jets, throwing 45 touchdown passes to 39 interceptions after an impressive college career at USC.

He also showed improvement from his 2021 season with Carolina going 4-7, throwing 13 interceptions for nine touchdowns.

The Panthers acquired Darnold in a trade with the Jets during the 2021 off-season, believing a change of scenery would help revive his career. He went 3-0 before losing eight of his last nine games, missing six due to a shoulder injury.

Carolina traded for Baker Mayfield, the first pick of the 2018 draft, to compete with Darnold for the starting position last season. Darnold lost the job in training camp and then suffered a sprained ankle in the final pre-season game. He started the season on injured reserve and did not get a chance to play until late in the season after Mayfield was released after going 2-8 as a starter.

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Darnold credited his improvement last season in part to spending a lot of time while on injured reserve with defensive players to get a different perspective.

ESPN’s David Newton contributed to this report.