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Ian Rapoport breaks down why he thinks Sam Darnold will be 49ers Week 1 starter



© Stephen Lew-USA TODAY Sports

The 49ers have three quarterbacks on their roster. As of this very moment, it’s unclear who will start in Week 1.

While Brock Purdy could be back by the season opener, that’s far from a guarantee. It will take until three months after his surgery, around the start of June, to have a more concrete outlook on his recovery.

At the NFL owners meetings in Arizona this week Kyle Shanahan said that “it might be Week 1” for Purdy’s return, but left the door open for a longer timeline until Week 4 “at the latest.”

That very clearly leaves the door ajar for Trey Lance or Sam Darnold to start at the beginning of the season.

And NFL insider Ian Rapoport believes it’ll be the latter, who has started 55 games over five seasons.

“We do not know what Trey Lance is going to be if he continues the trajectory that he’s been on,” Rapoport said. “And I think, certainly, it seems Sam Darnold will more likely than not be the starter going into the season. But there is an opportunity for someone to step in there and start the first couple of games of the regular season for the 49ers.”

It’s a stunning fall from grace for Lance if that is indeed the case.

San Francisco spent three first-round picks and one third-rounder to draft the North Dakota State man third overall. Lance is slated to make double what Purdy and Darnold make this season combined, with a $9.3 million cap hit. Darnold has a $3.85 million cap hit.