The San Francisco 49ers have had a whirlwind experience with the quarterback position recently. Five different quarterbacks have started a game for the 49ers in the last three seasons and it could be six with Sam Darnold in 2023.
Darnold signed a one-year, $4.5 million contract with San Francisco in March. Jeremy Fowler of ESPN reports that there’s a chance Darnold sees time as the 49ers’ starter early in the season.
“I think [Darnold] plays meaningful snaps for them early on,” an AFC exec said. “He’s a great fit for their system and [Brock] Purdy is injured.”
San Francisco seems to like Brock Purdy as its signal-caller for 2023, which leaves 2021 first-round pick Trey Lance the odd man out with the addition of Darnold. Lance won the starting job in 2022 but was lost for the season with a devastating ankle injury he suffered in Week 2. Rumors have swirled that the 49ers are looking to move Lance during the draft.
Purdy started the final five games of the regular season for the 49ers in 2022, winning all five. He then led San Francisco to the NFC Championship Game where he tore his ulnar collateral ligament in his elbow. He’ll likely miss the start of the 2023 season, leaving the 49ers with a decision to make at quarterback.
It shouldn’t surprise anyone if the 49ers decide to keep Lance and hold all three QBs on the roster. They were down to their fourth-stringer in the final game of the season last year. Brock Purdy should be the starter once he returns from injury, but Sam Darnold could be calling the plays for the 49ers in Week 1.
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