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49ers It  a good time to bring Sudfeld back

Feb 27, 2024 #Nate Sudfeld

With 49ers backup quarterback Sam Darnold set to return in free agency in hopes of competing for a starting job sometime after a season in the 49ers quarterback room, there could very well be a spot open for a new second stringer from San Francisco.

And that could give the 49ers an opportunity to bring back a guy they didn’t want to let go in the first place: veteran backup Nate Sudfeld.

Sudfeld spent the last two seasons with the Lions after narrowly missing out on a spot with the 49ers in 2021. He suffered a torn ACL late in the preseason last year and didn’t play.

That offseason, the 49ers appeared headed toward parting ways with Jimmy Garoppolo, and planned 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 page are saying it might be a good time to bring Sudfeld back.
49ers quarterback depth needs overhaul
As the site’s Kyle Madson wrote about Sudfeld, who was on the 49ers’ practice squad last year:

“Brock Purdy beat out Sudfeld for a spot on the 2022 roster, but before this season, San Francisco had guaranteed Sudfeld a few million dollars assuming he would be QB2 behind Trey Lance. Jimmy Garoppolo’s time in Santa Clara and Purdy’s ascension ultimately left Sudfeld unemployed.
“However, it’s clear that head coach Kyle Shanahan likes him, and without any other QBs on the roster, the 49ers could turn to Sudfeld.”

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

Sam Darnold

Ideally, the 49ers  would bring  Darnold back, but  that’s highly unlikely. Darnold signed a one-year, $4.5 million  contract last March  with expectations that he could open the season as  a starter as Purdy  returns from  an elbow injury he suffered in last  year’s NFC Championship. 

But Darnold is 26  years old and wants to be  an NFL starter. He got one  shot at the job this  year when the 49ers rested Purdy  for their Week 18  game against the Rams. He finished with  16 completions on 26 attempts  for 189 yards and a  touchdown, earning a  quarterback rating  of 96.5 in the  49ers’ 21-20 loss to the Rams.

This is probably  Darnold’s last chance to  start his career. He was  drafted third overall in the  2018 draft  and spent his first three seasons with the Jets, where the team was  a complete mess and  compiled a 13-25 record as a starter.

Darnold  developed with Carolina  over the  next two years in 2021 and  2022, going 8-9 as the  team’s starter.  But the Panthers let him  walk and  fell to 2-15 last year.  Darnold’s career quarterback rating  is 78.3. He has  63 touchdowns and 56 interceptions in the NFL.  He’s considered  one of the best backup  cornerbacks in  the league, but  he’s hoping to  utilize his year  in the  49ers’ system  as a  starter.

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