49ers Urged to Bring Back Veteran QB Who Lost Place to Brock Purdy

San Francisco 49ers backup quarterback Sam Darnold is set to go back into free agency with the hopes of being able to compete for a starting job somewhere after a season in the 49ers quarterback room.

This should create a spot for a new San Francisco second-stringer. And that could give the 49ers the chance to bring back a guy they had not wanted to let go in the first place, veteran backup Nate Sudfeld.

Sudfeld spend the last two seasons with the Lions, after he narrowly missed out on a spot with the 49ers in 2021. He suffered a torn ACL at the end of the preseason last year, and did not play.

That offseason, the 49ers appeared to be headed toward a parting of ways with Jimmy Garoppolo, and were planning to have a depth chart of Trey Lance as the starter, followed by Sudfeld. But the team restructured Garoppolo’s contract and Purdy beat our Sudfeld, forcing the 49ers to release him at the end of camp.

Now, the folks at USA Today’s Niners Wire site say it might be a good time to bring back Sudfeld.

As Kyle Madson of the site wrote of Sudfeld, who had been on the 49ers practice squad the previous year:

“Brock Purdy beat out Sudfeld for a roster spot in 2022, but before that season San Francisco guaranteed Sudfeld a couple million dollars under the assumption he’d be QB2 behind Trey Lance. Jimmy Garoppolo staying in Santa Clara and Purdy’s emergence ultimately left Sudfeld out of a job.

“It’s clear head coach Kyle Shanahan likes him though, and with no other QBs on the roster the 49ers may turn back to Sudfeld.”

Shanahan, too, could bring back Brandon Allen, the team’s No. 3 quarterback. He is 31, but he obviously has a feel for the system and has some experience (nine career starts).

Ideally, the 49ers could bring back Darnold, but that’s a longshot. Darnold signed a one-year, $4.5 million deal last March in anticipation of potentially opening the season as the starter as Purdy came back from the elbow injury he suffered in last year’s NFC Championship.

But Darnold is 26 and wants to be a starter in the NFL. He got one crack at the job this year, when the 49ers rested Purdy in Week 18 against the Rams.

He finished with 189 yards passing and 16 completions on 26 attempts plus a touchdown for a 96.5 quarterback rating in the 49ers’ 21-20 loss to the Rams.

This is probably Darnold’s last chance to jumpstart his career. He was the No. 3 pick in the draft in 2018, and spent his first three seasons with the Jets, where the team was an utter mess and he posted a 13-25 record as a starter.

Darnold improved with Carolina the following two years in 2021 and 22, and went 8-9 as the team’s starter. The Panthers let him walk, though, and plummeted to 2-15 last year.

Darnold has a career quarterback rating of 78.3. He has thrown 63 touchdowns and 56 interceptions in the NFL. He is considered among the best backup quarterbacks in his league, but he is hoping to parlay a year working in the 49ers system into a starting gig—somewhere.



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