Report: 49ers naming Sam Darnold backup QB

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Field Level Media
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Aug 19, 2023; Santa Clara, California, USA;  San Francisco 49ers quarterback Sam Darnold (14) before the start of the first quarter against the Denver Broncos at Levi's Stadium.
Aug 19, 2023; Santa Clara, California, USA; San Francisco 49ers quarterback Sam Darnold (14) before the start of the first quarter against the Denver Broncos at Levi's Stadium.
Image: Stan Szeto-USA TODAY Sports

The San Francisco 49ers have tabbed Sam Darnold as their backup quarterback over former No. 3 overall pick Trey Lance, NFL Network reported Wednesday.

Brock Purdy is the team's starter.

Lance, 23, just last year was the team's quarterback of the future before fracturing his tibia in the second game of the season. The injury, which included ligament damage, required two surgeries, the second to remove hardware from the first that was causing irritation in his ankle.

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Jimmy Garoppolo replaced Lance but sustained a broken left foot in Week 13, leading to the emergence of the wunderkind Purdy.

The 49ers signed Darnold, the 2018 draft's No. 3 overall pick, as a free agent in March. The 26-year-old has had a strong showing during the offseason.

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Lance is set to count $9.3 million against the Niners' salary cap this season. Further, the team moved from No. 12 in a trade with the Miami Dolphins to draft Lance No. 3 in the 2021 draft. That cost the 49ers two first-round picks in 2022 and '23 in addition to a third-rounder in '22.

Lance appeared in just eight games (four starts) over his first two seasons, completing 56 of 102 passes for 797 yards, with five touchdowns and three interceptions.

Darnold lost a competition with Baker Mayfield to start for the Carolina Panthers in 2022 and was on the shelf with an ankle injury most of last season. He was traded to the Panthers from the New York Jets.

Darnold started six games in 2022 upon his return from injury, throwing for 1,143 yards, seven touchdowns and three interceptions.

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In 56 career games (55 starts) with the Panthers and Jets, Darnold is 21-34 and has thrown for 11,767 yards, 61 TDs and 55 INTs. He has also scored 12 rushing touchdowns.

—Field Level Media