5 pending 49ers free agents who (probably) won't return in 2024

San Francisco 49ers defensive tackle Javon Kinlaw (99)
San Francisco 49ers defensive tackle Javon Kinlaw (99) / Michael Zagaris/GettyImages
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No. 1: 49ers quarterback Sam Darnold

All you need to do is look at this tweet from ESPN, and it'll tell you something:

Nobody, aside from his family and closest friends, is pulling for Sam Darnold to win San Francisco's starting quarterback job.

The 49ers have both Trey Lance and Brock Purdy around to help figure that out. And while they've always liked Darnold (and he's also probably not going anywhere this year, as $3.5 million guaranteed helps deter that), having him stick around even as a backup option in 2024 would make little sense.

Darnold's rationale for being with the Niners should be simple. He's using the team as a means to resurrect his otherwise floundering career, and even going at it as a backup isn't the worst plan.

That doesn't mean San Francisco will cave to the idea of re-signing him again in 2024, though. He'll be looking elsewhere after his one-year chance with the 49ers.

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