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San Francisco 49ers

Report: NFL teams believe San Francisco 49ers signing Sam Darnold is ‘sneaky significant’ as he could start Week 1

Sam Darnold
Nathan Ray Seebeck-USA TODAY Sports

The San Francisco 49ers’ addition of Sam Darnold might just shake up the team’s quarterback situation.

Before the signing, a lot of folks assumed that the starting job was going to be a two-man competition between Trey Lance and Brock Purdy. However, there are some who believe that Darnold might also join in on the race and make a case for being named the starter in Week 1 of the 2023 season.

“I’ve talked to multiple teams who believe that that Darnold signing is sneaky significant,” ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler reported Sunday on SportsCenter. “That this is a guy who could start for them Week 1, play meaningful snaps. They believe he’s a great fit in Kyle Shanahan’s offense. So if Trey Lance is going to play, he’s going to have to earn it against Darnold.”

Last season, the Niners had three different players draw at least two starts in the regular season.

Lance earned the starting job at the start of the campaign, but the season-ending ankle injury he sustained in Week 2 made the squad call up Jimmy Garoppolo for the role. In Week 13, the veteran also suffered an injury, consequently promoting Purdy to the position.

The rookie performed admirably, especially considering he was last year’s Mr. Irrelevant, the moniker given to the last pick of the draft. Purdy finished the campaign having completed 114 passes for 1,374 yards and 13 touchdowns.

Despite the injuries, San Francisco managed to end the regular season with a 13-4 record. The team continued its strong showing in the postseason, thanks in part to the 23-year-old signal caller’s impressive performances. The Niners eventually made it to the NFC Championship Game, where the injury bug bit them again.

Purdy sustained an elbow injury, which caused the coaching staff to put Josh Johnson on the field.

Unfortunately, Johnson suffered a concussion, and with no other quarterback available, Purdy was brought back even though he could only hand the ball off to his teammates because of his ailment. San Francisco eventually lost to the Philadelphia Eagles in a 24-point rout.

With Purdy still recovering and Lance seemingly already healed, it appeared that the door was open for the No. 3 pick of the 2021 draft to reclaim his spot as first-string quarterback. But he might have to earn it now that Darnold is also on the roster.


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