Darnold has signed a one-year deal with the San Francisco 49ers, NFL Network Insider Tom Pelissero reported. The contract has a base value of $4.5 million with $3.5 million guaranteed and can be worth up to $11.5 million with play-time, playoffs, wins and passer rating incentives, per Pelissero.
The 49ers needed some clarity at quarterback with injuries to Trey Lance and Brock Purdy and Jimmy Garoppolo signing with the Raiders.
Darnold, 25, is now joining his third NFL team. He was a first-round pick (third overall) of the New York Jets in 2018, starting 38 games there and struggling before being traded to the Carolina Panthers in 2021. Darnold started 11 games that season before losing his job down the stretch.
But prior to a two-interception performance in the season finale last year, Darnold arguably had one of the best five-game stretches of his career for the Panthers, throwing for 1,100 yards, seven TDs and one interception, while also running for two scores.
In San Francisco, Darnold will provide insurance with Lance coming off a broken ankle suffered last September and Purdy recovering from his recent elbow surgery. Although Lance is expected to be cleared to work this offseason, 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan likely felt the need to add another veteran QB to lighten Lance's workload for offseason workouts as he regains his health.