The San Francisco 49ers received an interesting trade suggestion from NFL Network’s David Carr as the former Texans quarterback wants to see Sam Darnold in Kyle Shanahan’s offense. Carr calls Darnold a “much better quarterback” than the 49ers current QB1 Jimmy Garoppolo.
“To me, Darnold is a much better quarterback than Garoppolo and would make the 49ers’ offense even more difficult to defend,” Carr explained on NFL.com. “Lynch and Shanahan aren’t afraid to make bold moves, and I’d love to see Darnold get a fresh start on the West Coast in an offense that would get the best out of the young QB.”
Darnold Was the No. 3 Pick in the 2018 NFL Draft
It is not surprising that Darnold has struggled this season given the Jets are one of the worst NFL teams. Darnold has thrown more interceptions than touchdowns (four compared to three) while notching 792 yards and completing 59.4 percent of his passes in his four games this season. The jury is still out on Darnold’s NFL future but the quarterback is coming off his best season. The Jets quarterback threw for 3,024 yards, 19 touchdowns and 13 interceptions while completing nearly 62 percent of his passes in his 13 appearances in 2019.
Darnold was a highly-touted quarterback coming out of USC and was the No. 3 overall selection by the Jets in the 2018 NFL Draft. Like some have suggested, Carr believes the 49ers could move on from Garoppolo in the offseason despite his bounce-back performance against the Rams.
“As for the 49ers, I can envision a scenario in which John Lynch and Kyle Shanahan move on from Jimmy Garoppolo this offseason,” Carr noted. “Garoppolo is under contract through 2022, but the 49ers would eat just $2.8 million in dead money in 2021 and $1.4 million in 2022 if they moved on without him next year.”
Garoppolo is also coming off his best NFL season throwing for 3,978 yards, 27 touchdowns and 13 interceptions while completing 69 percent of his passes during the team’s run to the Super Bowl. Despite his success, there continue to be whispers that the 49ers are constantly looking at available quarterbacks. The team was linked to Tom Brady over the offseason but opted to stick with Garoppolo.
The Jets Are Unlikely to Land a First-Round Pick in a Trade for Darnold
The 49ers quarterback has had a more successful NFL career, but Darnold is also only in his third season. Even the most ardent Garoppolo supporters can admit the Niners signal-caller is in a much better situation than the volatile environment Darnold finds himself in with the Jets.
If the 49ers were able to trade for Darnold, it would not necessarily mean the team would have to automatically move on from Garoppolo. Darnold’s trade value appears to be at an all-time low. ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported that Darnold is unlikely to command a first-round pick in return unless something changes in 2020.
“I don’t think they’d get a [first-round pick] for Sam, but it also depends what he puts on tape the rest of the year,” one general manager explained to ESPN. “The problem is, [Darnold] is struggling with his accuracy, his durability — so they’re in a tough spot. And if everyone knows the Jets are taking a quarterback, then they won’t get as much back.”
Another general manager suggested that Darnold would only warrant a day-three selection. If true, it is something the Niners would be wise to explore if Garoppolo is unable to find consistency for the rest of the season. The 49ers would land Darnold with one more year remaining on his team-friendly contract.
“The high-water mark would be a [second-round pick] for him,” another GM said told ESPN. “I think they could get a [fourth-round pick] for him, but if he finished positive for him, they might get a 2 for him. In college, he was a turnover machine. In the NFL, he has been a turnover machine. I just don’t think he has the credentials to go for a 1.”