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Rapoport: The 49ers took a hard look at Sam Darnold before free agency

San Francisco 49ers v New York Jets Photo by Benjamin Solomon/Getty Images

NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport reported that two teams took a hard look at Sam Darnold before free agency began: Washington and San Francisco. Rapoport said the 49ers inquired about what it would take to happen, but New York wasn’t ready to make a move yet.

The Jets were reportedly waiting on Zach Wilson to pass a physical, but that didn’t happen yet as they still traded Darnold. I’m curious what the Niners were willing to give up for Darnold and if they viewed him as a two-year option as Carolina did. The Panthers gave up a future ‘22 second-round pick along with two other Day 3 selections. Then, the team exercised Darnold’s fifth-year option.

Is there anyone out there that would’ve preferred Darnold for the deal the Panthers gave up instead of a potential rookie after moving multiple first-round picks? The timing for the trades for Matthew Stafford and now Darnold seems to be the reason the 49ers didn’t land either QB. I’d look at it as a blessing in disguise.

Now, the Niners have an opportunity to have a cost-controlled rookie QB for the next four years without the injury history or question marks of Darnold. Plus, Darnold costs $18.8 million in 2022.