The 49ers and Washington moved on to other quarterback plans this offseason, but going into free agency, the NFC teams had Sam Darnold on their respective radars.
Said to have received inquiries on Darnold in early February, the Jets indeed spoke to the 49ers about their former top-three pick, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets. The 49ers are not believed to have discussed this year’s No. 2 overall pick seriously with the Jets, but weeks before they made that seismic trade with the Dolphins, Rapoport notes they did ask what it would take to acquire Darnold.
Washington held conversations on the three-year starter as well, but Rapoport notes the Jets had not reached a consensus on their quarterback path yet. Washington then moved on, signing Ryan Fitzpatrick, who joins the re-signed Taylor Heinicke and Kyle Allen.
San Francisco obviously took a much bigger swing, dealing two future first-rounders for the Dolphins’ No. 3 overall pick this year. This opened the door for the Panthers, who joined both Washington and the 49ers in the Matthew Stafford pursuit. Washington offered its first-round pick and change for Stafford. The Panthers offered their No. 8 overall pick and Teddy Bridgewater to the Lions but had to change course, pivoting to Darnold months later.
Darnold will head to Carolina for his fourth NFL season, while the 49ers have been connected most closely to Mac Jones at No. 3 overall. Jets GM Joe Douglas said the team likely would still be moving forward with Darnold were it not in possession of the No. 2 overall pick, which is expected to be Zach Wilson. Although other quarterback dominoes have moved this offseason, with Stafford and Carson Wentz trades shaking up situations elsewhere, there were a lot of moving parts in the Darnold saga.
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