Sam Darnold explains why he chose to sign with 49ers despite having to compete with Brock Purdy, Trey Lance

Sam Darnold established himself as one of the best quarterbacks in the country while residing in the state of California. He created his reputation as a four-star recruit out of San Clemente, then showed enough potential at USC to be selected No. 3 overall in the 2018 NFL Draft by the New York Jets. While his NFL career has been a bit up-and-down, Darnold is now back in Cali after signing with the San Francisco 49ers in free agency.

The 49ers have a few options for their starting quarterback, but Darnold still elected to sign with San Francisco. Why? That’s what he was asked during an appearance on the “Pardon My Take” podcast.

“Guys are open, I mean, there’s a lot of guys open on dang near every play,” Darnold said, via “It just seems like there’s a ton of answers. Great run game. I mean, whenever you can have a great run game as a quarterback, that’s always a comforting feeling. I think just with the certain weapons that they have, you know, Deebo (Samuel), (Brandon) Aiyuk, George (Kittle), obviously Christian (McCaffrey), Juice (Kyle Juszczyk), Jauan Jennings, like there’s so many guys you can go on and on.”

He’s not wrong. If Mr. Irrelevant can come in and take the 49ers to the NFC Championship game, then Kyle Shanahan is doing something right. It feels as though virtually any quarterback the 49ers put under center will find success. That’s a credit to the offensive weapons and coach Shanahan. 

“They’ve been there for so long, and Kyle’s been able to understand kind of what everyone does well, what they don’t do well, and I feel like every game plan he uses gets the most out of his guys,” Darnold said. “That’s a very good feeling as a quarterback, knowing that the [coach] is going to put everyone in the best position possible.”

After suffering an injury in the preseason last year, Darnold stepped into the starting lineup for the Carolina Panthers in Week 12 and went 4-2 while averaging 190.5 passing yards per game to go along with nine total touchdowns and three interceptions. He played pretty good football, and was top 10 in the league in EPA per play in his six starts.

Shanahan is going to allow Darnold to compete for the starting job while Brock Purdy continues to recover from offseason elbow surgery. He’s only 26 years old, and could play an important role for the 49ers in 2023. 

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