NFL free agency: 49ers reportedly agree to terms with Sam Darnold as Jimmy Garoppolo joins Raiders

Jan 1, 2023; Tampa, Florida, USA; Carolina Panthers quarterback Sam Darnold (14) during the second half against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Raymond James Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

The San Francisco 49ers appear to have their backup quarterback situation figured out.

On the same day Jimmy Garoppolo agreed to terms with the Las Vegas Raiders, Sam Darnold agreed to terms with the 49ers, NFL Network's Adam Schefter reports. The deal is for one year, according to the report.

Now comes the hard part. After playing and losing the NFC championship with their fourth-string quarterback part of the way, the 49ers face another offseason of quarterback intrigue, this time featuring Brock Purdy and Trey Lance. One of them will presumably win the starting job in the fall with Darnold on the bench as an insurance policy.

The 49ers traded up to draft Lance third overall in 2021. The presumed heir to Garoppolo, Lance has started four games in his two NFL seasons. He was named the starter last fall only to see his season end because of a fractured ankle in Week 2.

Purdy, the last pick in the 2022 NFL Draft, was eventually thrust into unexpected starting duties after an injury sidelined Garoppolo in Week 13. Purdy responded by leading the 49ers to five straight wins to end the regular season then two more in the playoffs to advance to the NFC championship game. There, he sustained a torn UCL that forced fourth-string quarterback Josh Johnson into action.

When Johnson was sidelined with a concussion, Purdy returned to the game. But he wasn't able to throw the ball downfield as the Philadelphia Eagles rolled past the 49ers into the Super Bowl.

Lance is expected to be healthy in time for offseason activities. Purdy, meanwhile, had surgery Friday and is expected to throw in three months and potentially return to action for the start of next season. For now, it's unclear who will start at quarterback next season for a team with its sights set on a Super Bowl.

Darnold, 25, is now on his third team since the New York Jets drafted him third overall in 2018. He spent the past two seasons with the Carolina Panthers, who benched him in 2021 then started him at the end of the 2022 season after moving away from Baker Mayfield.