49ers Brock Purdy Insurance Takes Hit as QB Bolts for $10 Million Deal - Sport News

49ers Brock Purdy Insurance Takes Hit as QB Bolts for $10 Million Deal

It was only one game, but it was apparently worth $10 million. When the 49ers signed quarterback Sam Darnold a year ago, the expectation was that he might need to start some games early in the season as Brock Purdy healed from elbow surgery. He was a comforting insurance policy.

Brock Purdy's 'next level' play impresses 49ers' backup QB Sam Darnold –  NBC Sports Bay Area & California

But Purdy was at 100% by the end of training camp and started the first 16 games for the 49ers.

It was not until the season finale, in what was a meaningless game against the Rams, that Darnold finally took the field as a starter. He looked very sharp to start the game, as the 49ers built a 20-7 lead, but when San Francisco rested its top offensive players in the second half, things ground to a halt and the 49ers lost, 21-20. Darnold completed 16 of 26 passes for 189 yards and recorded a rushing touchdown, for a quarterback rating of 96.5

That was enough to pique the interest of the Minnesota Vikings, a team hurting for quarterback help after losing out on Kirk Cousins to Atlanta in Monday’s free-agent frenzy.

NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport reported overnight that the Vikings will sign Darnold: “A new QB in Minnesota: The #Vikings are expected to sign #49ers QB Sam Darnold, per me and @TomPelissero. Darnold gets a 1-year deal worth $10M, sources say, and joins former teammate Josh McCown, who is Minnesota’s new QB coach. Kirk Cousins out, Darnold in.

Sam Darnold Could Get a Starting Chance

Darnold was the No. 3 pick by New York in the draft in 2018, but his career never quite took off with a moribund Jets offense.

He spent his first three seasons with New York, where the team was an utter mess and he posted a 13-25 record as a starter. He improved with Carolina the following two years in 2021 and 22, and went 8-9 as the team’s starter. Carolina was 4-2 with Darnold as the starter two seasons ago, and posted a 92.6 quarterback rating.

The Panthers let him walk, though, and plummeted to 2-15 last year with rookie Bryce Young at the helm.

Darnold has a career quarterback rating of 78.3 He has thrown 63 touchdowns and 56 interceptions in the NFL. Back in September, on the eve of the opening of the season, CBS Sports rated the top backup quarterbacks in the league, and Darnold was No. 3.

But Darnold is only 26 and still wants to be a starter in the NFL. This should be his chance.

49ers Brock Purdy Insurance Down to Brandon Allen

With Darnold out, it will be interesting to see what happens with the 49ers quarterback room behind Brock Purdy from here. The team gave a new one-year contract to third-stringer Brandon Allen this offseason, after he had spent the past two years on the 49ers bench. He could well be QB2 for the 49ers, though there is some risk in that for the team—if Purdy gets injured, Allen would be thrown into the fray.

The 49ers have some trust in Allen, obviously, but he is 31 years old and has nine NFL starts total to his credit. He has gone 2-7 in those starts, and has not started a game since January 2022, when he was backing up Joe Burrow in Cincinnati. Allen has thrown 10 touchdown passes and six interceptions, recording a 78.0 passer rating.

The 49ers are doing what they can to save as much salary cap rom as possible, and keeping a relatively inexpensive backup quarterback is one way to do that. They could try to find a young quarterback in the middle rounds of the draft, too.

They also could wait out the free-agent market and pick up a veteran on the cheap if they want more insurance. Regardless, losing Darnold means the depth behind Purdy is taking a hit.

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