Jimmy Garoppolo #10 of the San Francisco 49ers
Jimmy Garoppolo #10 of the San Francisco 49ers Getty Images | Ezra Shaw


  • Jimmy Garoppolo's departure from San Francisco prompts the signing of Sam Darnold
  • Darnold had a strong run with the Carolina Panthers last season
  • His arrival does open up questions about the 49ers' quarterback depth chart

The San Francisco 49ers offseason has seen the departure of last season's main starter Jimmy Garoppolo to the Las Vegas Raiders and the 49ers moved quickly by signing his replacement.

NFL insider Adam Schefter reported that they have signed former Carolina Panthers quarterback Sam Darnold to a one-year deal.

Garoppolo started in 10 of his 11 appearances in San Francisco, racking up 2,437 passing yards and 16 touchdowns as he helped kickstart their big season after Trey Lance left their Week 2 matchup with the Seattle Seahawks with a broken ankle.

While things were rolling for them, questions of whether fans will get a chance to see 2022's "Mr. Irrelevant" Brock Purdy on the field materialized after Garoppolo went down with a foot injury in Week 13.

Purdy would go on to have a star-making showing for the 49ers as they marched their way to a 5-0 record to close out the regular season before making it all the way to the NFC Championship game against the Philadelphia Eagles where their season ended at the hands of Jalen Hurts.

But with Lance expected to return just in time for Organized Team Activities (OTAs) in April, the signing of Darnold can be seen as a holdover pickup for the 49ers.

The third overall pick of the 2018 NFL draft by the New York Jets was traded to the Panthers for a 2021 sixth-rounder plus second and fourth-round picks in 2022.

Darnold's 2022 season started off with a hiccup as he was named the backup to Baker Mayfield and suffered a high ankle sprain that saw him on injured reserve.

When he did return to the field in Week 12, Darnold performed great against the Russell Wilson-led Denver Broncos as he logged 164 passing yards plus both a passing and rushing touchdown to lead the Panthers to a 23-10 win.

With him under center, the Panthers logged a 4-2 record and were making a run towards claiming the top spot in the NFC South for the first time since 2015, but Tom Brady's Tampa Bay Buccaneers just edged them with an 8-9 slate and ended their postseason hopes.

The 49ers have a healthy mix of veterans and young talent competing for the starting quarterback spot and while Darnold has the experience advantage, San Francisco going on their unexpected postseason run will have them deeply pondering who draws the start.

Fans had high hopes for Lance as their future despite playing behind Garoppolo in his first season, but Purdy's uncanny rise to the top does raise some questions about their depth chart.

It would be futile to predict the 49ers' upper management's line of thought so early into the offseason, though an impressive showing from Darnold during training camp will further muddy the waters.

Sam Darnold, Carolina Panthers
Sam Darnold #14 of the Carolina Panthers looks on before the preseason game against the Washington Commanders at FedExField on August 13, 2022 in Landover, Maryland. Scott Taetsch/Getty Images