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#pounditFriday, July 19, 2024

One 49ers signing viewed as ‘sneaky’ deal

Kyle Shanahan with a headset

Sep 23, 2018; Kansas City, MO, USA; San Francisco 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan watches play on the sidelines during the first half against the Kansas City Chiefs at Arrowhead Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

The San Francisco 49ers made what looked like a depth move when they signed Sam Darnold to a one-year deal earlier this offseason, but there are some who believe the former No. 3 overall pick could play a very significant role in 2023.

ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler said on “SportsCenter” Sunday that there are multiple teams around the NFL who view the Darnold signing as “sneaky significant” for the Niners. The belief is that Darnold has a real chance to be a Week 1 starter.

“I’ve talked to multiple teams who believe that that Darnold signing is sneaky significant,” Fowler said, via Joseph Zucker of Bleacher Report. “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.”

The Niners have made it clear they are committed to Brock Purdy, but Purdy is still recovering from elbow surgery. It would be a surprise if he is fully recovered in time for Week 1.

Most have assumed Trey Lance would become QB1 if Purdy were not ready for the start of the season. Perhaps Shanahan has other plans.

Darnold went 4-2 as a starter with the Carolina Panthers last season. He threw just seven touchdown passes and turned the ball over five times, however. The 25-year-old has been prone to turnovers since coming into the NFL in 2018, as he has 61 touchdown passes compared to 55 interceptions.

Lance suffered a season-ending ankle injury in Week 2 last year, but he is expected to be ready for the start of the season. At the very least, it sounds like he will have to compete for the primary backup job behind Purdy.

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