John Lynch: Sam Darnold was craving what we could provide

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Sam Darnold landed in a solid situation when he agreed to a one-year deal with San Francisco 10 days ago.

At this point, the 49ers starting quarterback in 2023 is expected to be either Trey Lance or Brock Purdy — though Lance may have a leg up due to Purdy’s elbow injury suffered in the NFC Championship Game. But given the injury history of San Francisco QBs in head coach Kyle Shanahan and General Manager John Lynch’s tenure, there’s reason to think Darnold could eventually see the field in the upcoming season.

Lynch said this week that the Niners are excited about what the No. 3 overall pick in the 2018 draft can bring to the Bay Area.

“I feel we’ve studied him forever, back when he was [a potential] No. 1 pick and we were looking for trade options,” Lynch said, via Cam Inman of the Bay Area News Group. “He kind of was craving what we could provide: a really cool structure on offense that’s tailor-made for his skill set. That’s what he bought into.

“We’re excited about Sam.”

After three seasons with the Jets, Darnold was traded from New York to Carolina and spent the last two years with the Panthers. He helped lead the club to a 4-2 record in his six starts last season, completing 58.6 percent of his passes for 1,143 yards with seven touchdowns and three interceptions. His 92.6 passer rating was easily the highest of his career.

In 56 career games with 55 starts, Darnold has completed 59.7 percent of his passes for 11,767 yards with 61 touchdowns and 55 interceptions — good for a 78.2 passer rating.

29 responses to “John Lynch: Sam Darnold was craving what we could provide

  1. Marriage made in football heaven. I love this signing. Sam is still very young.

  2. We’ll see how this plays out but it reveals that the system into which you are drafted will have profound effects on a career. I always thought he was a better QB than he showed, given the lousy Jets offense. Carolina wasn’t much better. He has a solid chance in SF.

  3. Was he craving an injury settlement to comfortably retire with his contract paid?

  4. He’ll should be the starter Week 1. If he can’t beat out Lance then something is not right. He has the right skill set for the Clara offense but he better keep his head on a swivel if Shanahan QB history prevails.

  5. 3 cheap options, to be sure. But if all 3 are healthy, then what? Just because you had 3 QBs injured last year doesn’t mean every team needs 3 viable starters. Waste of a roster spot to have 3 nfl QBs starters on roster. One of them would be trade bait once all 3 are healthy.

  6. Darnold will luck into a starting job since Lance is horrible and Purdy has one arm.

  7. I called Darnold “our Ginger Messiah” in multiple published essays. He has all the tools to be a good NFL QB. He won about 1/3 of his Jets starts. They were winless when he didn’t play.

  8. Lance isn’t horrible. He’s inexperienced. He has started 4 games and has a better record and stats than Josh Allen had through his first 4 games. The simple fact is that Lance is a total unknown. He’s a rookie with 4 games in his short career.

    Purdy has shown that he can be the franchise QB, but might not return until October.

    I expect Lance to start, with Darnold as backup. When Purdy is ready, he will start unless Lance and/or Darnold is lighting up the field.

  9. Darnold is better than Purdy. People have been fooled into thinking Purdy is this franchise QB but it was the team that made that go. He was never challenged to make difficult throws. He filled in great but he isn’t a guy you want as your starter. There are about 60 QBs that could run that offense.

  10. Not a 9ers fan, but I’ll be rooting for Darnold.

    The League is doing a p!$$poor job of developing QBs.

    They need these journeyman types to succeed as they did in years past (Rich Gannon, Trent Green, Jake Delhomme, Brad Johnson..)

  11. Darnold has been on some of the most poorly run organizations. The Jets are currently doing the same thing with Zach Wilson, and Carolina’s new owner seems really confused about how to run a team. The 49ers are smart. They had Darnold rated high coming out of college, and he’s still the same guy. It reminds me of when the 49ers signed Steve Young a long time ago. He was on a horrible Tampa Bay team, and looked lost. Lots of people thought he was a bust. The 49ers had a really high grade on him at BYU, and were obviously aware of his HOF talent. Same deal with Darnold. Elite QBs can turn around a bad franchise, but there are a couple franchises that are worse than bad. Darnold has seen them. This is a steal. It’s like having the first pick in the draft. We saw what Shanahan can do with the last pick in the draft. The 49ers might have just signed another Steve Young.

  12. I’ve been a huge fan of this kid since seeing his first start at USC, and immediately recognizing that he was special; there’s a unique, he’s a football player at the quarterback position quality to him. I expect him to be starting sooner rather than later, and I hope that the great fortune of landing with the 49ers also includes a first-ever uninjured and healthy (mono – seriously!?) season.

  13. “Craving what we could provide”…might’ve been a poor choice of words. John Lynch is just giving us a glimpse of the romance novel he’s been writing.

  14. This is kinda it for Sam Darnold to prove that he can be a QB1. If he cannot do it in SF where it seems that almost anyone behind center can win, then he is a career back-up. They really have no idea how Trey will come back from the broken ankle. A year might be optimistic for him to be “fully” come back. Who knows what he will be like when he comes back? And Brock will probably be out until mid-year. Darnold should get starts.

  15. The Pacific Northwest, where Jets QBs go to learn things they should have been taught their rookie year. Insane that a NY team has managed to stink so badly for my entire life.

  16. “I feel we’ve studied him forever, back when he was [a potential] No. 1 pick ”


    Have they studied him for the last five years? Because his recent history is far more relevant.

  17. Yes he was. He craved a paycheck to play a game, one he doesn’t play particularly well.

  18. Would be great if Shanahan and the 49ers could reclaim the quality that made Darnold such a high prospect out of college. I disagree with commenters who don’t follow the team that downplay Purdy’s achievements by saying “anyone” can run that offense. Purdy is actually really good. He has a very intuitive sense of playing the position, seems to see the field and sense the pressure, and has enough athleticism to extend plays. His poise is off the charts. The guy looks like a shorter, little thicker version of Joe Montana with his presence. I think he’s getting shortchanged by casual observers. As long as his elbow heals well, a big if, I think he’s the guy. But I’d love to be pleasantly surprised by Darnold also. As for Lance, he hasn’t shown much in his limited opportunities. Not his fault that they gave up so much draft capital to get him, but he hasn’t looked worth it to date.

  19. BleedinGreenBob says:
    March 23, 2023 at 1:22 pm
    The Pacific Northwest, where Jets QBs go to learn things they should have been taught their rookie year. Insane that a NY team has managed to stink so badly for my entire life.
    Minor correction. San Francisco is not Pacific Northwest. That would be Seattle

  20. Sam Darnold is 25 years old. There are QB’s in this year’s draft that are 25 years old. Kyle Shanahan has been to super bowls with two different QB’s. Neither were elite. Sam Darnold is the best QB prospect Shanahan has ever worked with. I truly expect to see greatness, and this acquisition will go down as one of the greatest steals of all time.

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