Source says 49ers agree to one-year deal with QB Sam Darnold

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

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

Darnold, 25, took a step last season toward rebuilding his career, which has been on a downward slide since being selected with the third pick of the 2018 draft.

He went 4–2 in the final six games for the Panthers after being activated from injured reserve, throwing seven touchdowns to three interceptions and rushing for two touchdowns.

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

He also showed improvement from his 2021 season with Carolina in which he went 4-7 with 13 interceptions for nine touchdowns.

The Panthers acquired Darnold in a trade with the Jets during the 2021 season, believing that a change of scenery would help revive his career. He went 3–0 before losing eight of his last nine games, missing six starts with 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 his job in training camp and then suffered a high ankle sprain in the final preseason game. He began the season on injured reserve and after going 2–8 as a starter did not get a chance to play until late in the season after Mayfield was released.

Darnold credited his improvement over the previous season to spending a lot of time on injured reserve with defensive players in order to gain a different perspective.

ESPN’s David Newton contributed to this report.

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