By Jeff Howe, Dianna Russini, Matt Barrows and David Lombardi
The San Francisco 49ers have chosen Sam Darnold as their backup quarterback behind starter Brock Purdy, a league supply informed The Athletic. NFL Community first reported the information. Right here’s what it’s essential to know:
- In a teaser from a KNBR interview that can air later Wednesday, coach Kyle Shanahan stated Darnold began separating himself from Trey Lance about 10 days in the past.
- Whereas the 49ers are exploring commerce prospects for Lance, the entrance workplace has been buying him for a lot of the offseason, based on a league supply. The crew by no means acquired a big commerce supply.
- Darnold, 26, is getting into his first season with San Francisco and sixth within the NFL. He began for the New York Jets and the Carolina Panthers earlier in his profession.
- Lance, 23, started final season because the 49ers’ starter earlier than struggling a season-ending ankle damage in Week 2. He’s getting into his third NFL season.
The Athletic’s immediate evaluation:
Lance sits out Wednesday observe
Lance was not on the sector because the 49ers started their observe earlier Wednesday. The crew’s quarterbacks have been on this order: Purdy, Darnold and Brandon Allen.
Lance was within the constructing on Wednesday when the quarterback information broke however was allowed to sit down out the session. — Barrows
Why Shanahan went on this course
The first figuring out issue for the 49ers’ backup QB position has at all times been efficiency ground — not efficiency ceiling. There’s been a lot speak of Lance’s ceiling, however his sheer inexperience has additionally led to notable inconsistency — or a decrease ground. And above all else, Shanahan desires the offense to maintain functioning with out an excessive amount of boom-or-bust variance if Purdy goes down.
The 49ers can proceed to develop Lance behind the scenes, in fact (the scout crew may supply some alternatives), however he’s rather more expendable now through commerce as QB3 than ever earlier than. — Lombardi
What the 49ers like about Darnold
Like Lance, Darnold is a No. 3 choose — so he clearly has bodily expertise. Actually, Shanahan and the 49ers have been intrigued by it ever since Darnold got here out of USC in 2018. Shanahan has repeatedly stated that he feels Darnold’s struggles with the Jets and Panthers might be corrected in a greater scenario — and the 49ers really feel they’ll present one.
Darnold has been sharp all through coaching camp and the preseason. He’s thrown solely two interceptions in observe, one among which bounced off his receiver. Avoiding picks was maybe Darnold’s most essential activity in securing the No. 2 position. — Lombardi
Will the 49ers attempt to commerce or lower Lance?
Having a full quarterback room has been paramount for the crew after they actually ran out of passers within the NFC Championship in January. In that method, having Purdy, Darnold and Lance in the identical quarterback room appears to be what the crew desires. The wild card is Brandon Allen, the crew’s No. 4 quarterback.
Ideally, the crew would attempt to put Allen on the observe squad subsequent week. Doing so, nevertheless, would expose him to waivers and there could possibly be a couple of groups — together with Allen’s former one, the Cincinnati Bengals — that will snap him up. If the 49ers obtained a tempting supply for Lance, they wouldn’t trouble waiving Allen. He’d be their No. 3 quarterback. — Barrows
The 49ers virtually actually can’t afford to chop Lance since his totally assured contract as a first-round choose implies that it’d be $5.3 costlier towards the wage cap to chop Lance than to maintain him. Nonetheless, a commerce would save the 49ers $3.8 million of 2023 cap area at a time when the crew is working with very restricted room. — Lombardi
Lance may gain advantage from working scout crew offense
The information strongly suggests Darnold would be the 49ers’ high backup once they go to the Pittsburgh Steelers in Week 1. One thing Shanahan and the 49ers’ coaches will think about is which quarterback runs the scout crew offense in observe.
Lance may gain advantage from that position given his lack of expertise. He’s tried 102 passes in NFL regular-season video games whereas Darnold has amassed 1,765. Shanahan stated that position, normally given to the No. 2 quarterback, will rely upon whom the 49ers are dealing with in a given week and which quarterback, Lance or Darnold, offers the San Francisco protection the perfect look going into the sport. — Barrows
Lance, who San Francisco drafted in 2021, backed up veteran Jimmy Garoppolo for many of his rookie season. In eight profession video games (4 begins), he has 797 passing yards and 5 touchdowns and has rushed for 235 yards and one landing.
Lance was anticipated to be the 49ers’ long-term starter till he injured his ankle final season. Garoppolo first stepped in for Lance, and Purdy later established himself because the crew’s high quarterback down the stretch run after Garoppolo’s season ended prematurely with a foot damage.
The 49ers signed Darnold to a one-year deal in March, shortly after Garoppolo’s exit to the Las Vegas Raiders. Darnold began his profession with the Jets, who drafted him in 2018. He’s amassed 11,767 profession passing yards with 61 touchdowns and 55 interceptions.
What Shanahan stated
“This isn’t a factor that we’re giving up on Trey,” Shanahan stated within the KNBR interview. “That is extra about how Brock performed in his seven video games and that was determined earlier than the season began and the way good Sam has regarded. They’ve each regarded good. However we do need to decide right here. And also you solely get so many reps at it. And we really feel that, beginning about 10 days in the past, Sam actually separated himself and we’ve gotta preserve it actual in that method.”
Ten days in the past, the 49ers performed the Raiders in Las Vegas. Lance, in fact, obtained off to a gradual begin as he and the 49ers started the sport with three, three-and-out sequence. Darnold, in the meantime, linked on a 37-yard completion on his first official cross try. Shanahan stated he hopes Lance stays on the crew.
“I really feel very, very lucky to have each of them right here,” Shanahan stated. “I actually hope when it’s stated and achieved that each one three of those guys are right here and also you by no means know when that’s going to return up. We would have liked 4 guys final yr. It doesn’t occur a lot, but when we will have Trey as an possibility right here, I might really feel extraordinarily glad about that. I believe the opposite quarterbacks in our room would and I believe our crew would.”
Shanahan referred to as Lance “a really well-liked man, one of many higher individuals I’ve been round.”
“I do suppose he’s going to have plenty of success on this league,” Shanahan stated. “It’s been a tricky street for him as a result of the occasions he has gotten a possibility, he ended up getting harm and missed that window and now he’s on this place.
Shanahan’s feedback additionally hinted that Lance expressed some displeasure along with his present scenario, since Shanahan stated that they’ve talked and can proceed to speak about different conditions for the quarterback. It could be the largest trace so removed from the 49ers as to why Lance missed Wednesday’s observe.
“We’ll at all times attempt to do proper for Trey,” Shanahan stated. “If he’s in a greater scenario that his coronary heart’s in and one thing like that, we’re going to verify to do one thing that doesn’t harm him in that. In order that’s stuff I talked to him about this morning, that’s stuff that I’ll speak to him about tonight and proceed to speak to him about. However Trey is aware of how I really feel about him and I hope he finally ends up having the ability to be right here and that’s the perfect factor for him, however we’ve gotta see what’s the smartest thing from now till then.”
(Photograph: Stan Szeto / USA At present)