Sam Darnold wins the 49ers QB Derby

ESPN reported Tuesday that Sam Darnold could be the surprise winner of the ongoing Quarterback Derby in San Francisco.

Although organized team activity is just beginning with minicamp and training camp, Darnold is reportedly distancing himself from Trey Lance. Brock Purdy’s status is unstable as he recovers from offseason elbow surgery.

ESPN reported that Darnold is “pushing” to start with Purdy’s recovery on the air. Darnold signed a one-year deal with the team on the same day that Jimmy Garoppolo agreed to terms with the Las Vegas Raiders.

The mirror emotion shared by Darnold may have been contested to begin with. 49ers Monday radio play-by-play announcer Greg Papa

Papa said, “If Sam Darnold gets a chance to play, he could be the Brock Purdy of 2023.”

Darnold and running back Christian McCaffrey were teammates in Carolina in 2021 and six games apart last season.

What’s not clear: Where does Lance stand 49ers

San Francisco GM John Lynch called the rumors of trade talks involving Lance “a lot of smoke”, and said the team hoped to keep him.

Lance was the starter to open the 2022 season. He required two surgeries on his right ankle in a span of three months — one in late December to remove surgically implanted hardware that was restricting his movement — and has played eight games over the past three years. This includes going 2-2 as a starter 49ers Completing 54.9 percent of his career NFL passes, with five touchdowns and three interceptions

“We are focused on his ability to compete and play an integral role in this team,” Lynch said of Lance last month.

Darnold lost a contest with Baker Mayfield to start for the Carolina Panthers in 2022 and spent most of last season on the shelf with an ankle injury. He was traded from the New York Jets to the Panthers.

Darnold returned from injury in 2022 to start six games, throwing for 1,143 yards, seven touchdowns and three interceptions.

In 56 career games (55 starts) with the Panthers and Jets, Darnold has thrown for 11,767 yards, 61 touchdowns, and 55 interceptions. He also scored 12 rushing touchdowns.

– Field Level Media