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San Francisco 49ers sign former top draft pick Sam Darnold

Prior to rookie quarterback Brock Purdy’s elbow surgery, San Francisco 49ers general manager John Lynch made it clear that the team would likely be in need of a veteran backup to shore up the position going into the 2023 season. On Monday, the 49ers did just that by signing QB Sam Darnold, the former No. 3 overall pick in the 2018 NFL Draft.

While the fine details of the contract have yet to emerge, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, Darnold has agreed to a one-year contract with San Francisco.

With 49ers backup quarterback rumors running rampant of late heading into Monday’s legal tampering window — from the likes of former MVP Matt Ryan to Jacoby Brissett and Andy Dalton — the 49ers opted to go the youth route.

Despite having been drafted in 2018, Darnold will be turning just 26 years old come June.

If we’re being completely fair here, it seems like the jury could still be out on Darnold’s true value and capability. His tenure with both the New York Jets (three seasons) and Carolina Panthers (two seasons) came with a sea of coaching staff turnover and organizational uncertainty and can probably be described as bumpy at best.

Considering it’s a one-year stop-gap stint, this could serve as a win for the 49ers and Darnold.

If his services do end up being needed — and they very well could be after the injuries seen at quarterback last season — Darnold will have all the offensive weapons at his disposal that he could possibly dream of in order to prove his worth. And possibly, lead to a bigger opportunity following the 2023 season.

For many 49ers fans, avoiding aging veterans like the aforementioned Matt Ryan and Andy Dalton probably feels like a victory all by itself.

Both have certainly proven their worth over the years, but aging quarterbacks that have almost zero ability to move around a collapsing pocket while trying to run Kyle Shanahan’s offense have never quite felt like the proper fit.

Related: Top NFL free agency takeaways from Day One including Jimmy Garoppolo to Raiders