49ers Eyeing Mac Jones and Sam Darnold for 2024 Quarterback Shuffle

49ers Eyeing Mac Jones and Sam Darnold for 2024 Quarterback Shuffle

Francisco 49ers general manager John Lynch brought in quarterback Sam Darnold this year, but the former No. 3 could be headed to Lynch’s old team this offseason.

It’s the Tampa Bay Buccaneers that Spotrac estimates will be in the middle of the team’s quarterback needs in 2024. Baker Mayfield may leave in free agency, but the Buccaneers don’t have any experienced veterans either. Spotrac’s Michael Ginnitti wrote that the Buccaneers will sign Darnold to a “one-year, $2 million deal to bolster the quarterback cap space” next year.

The Pirates have only former second-round pick Kyle Trask and third baseman John Wolford behind Mayfield. While the 49ers could easily acquire Darnold, Ginnitti predicts the Niners will take a shot at New England Patriots quarterback Mac Jones. Because of Jones’ struggles and benching this year, the former 15th pick could be taken in the seventh round of the draft, Ginnitti writes.


The question is whether or not Jones would pass Darnold. The 49ers must understand this question because of the sporadic poor performance and injury history of starter Brock Purdy in less than two seasons. Additionally, many NFL teams have lost starting quarterbacks this year, and the 49ers are well aware that injuries can strike at any time. Last season, it cost the 49ers a trip to the Super Bowl.


Mac Jones vs. Sam Darnold: Which Makes More Sense?

Indeed, San Francisco had a choice between two formerly highly touted AFC East quarterbacks in Darnold and Jones who did not like their original teams. Darnold entered the league with the New York Jets in 2018 and has not produced a winning season in four years as a starter.

He also never threw for more than 19 touchdowns or less than 11 interceptions in any season in which he played more than 11 games. San Francisco has a small example of what it can do now. Darnold completed 60% of his passes on 12-20 completions for 108 yards and a touchdown in eight games.

Most of that came against the Baltimore Ravens in Week 16, and he couldn’t get the 49ers when he had a golden opportunity. He threw one touchdown but missed a chance to bring his team within a point of the Ravens’ 10-yard line in a 33–19 loss. Although Jones’ third season with the Patriots flopped, he enjoyed more success than Darnold. Jones impressed as a rookie, leading the Patriots to the finals with 3,801 yards and 22 touchdowns, a season that surpasses Darnold’s achievements.

However, Jones did not retire until after 2021. He threw for 2,997 yards and 14 touchdowns against 11 interceptions in 2023 for the 6-8 Patriots. Jones went down this year for 2,120 yards and 10 touchdowns against 12 interceptions with a 2-9 record in 11 starts.

San Francisco Could Fit Mac Jones & Sam Darnold on the Roster

Well, that would be something – two former first-round quarterbacks sitting behind the former Mr. Irrelevant. That could happen if the 49ers re-sign Darnold and trade Jones. There could be room in San Francisco, as third-string quarterback Brandon Allen could become a free agent after the season. That opens the door for the 49ers to have a stacked quarterback with three players with significant starting experience.

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