Sam Darnold

Darnold could earn big contract incentive with 49ers' win vs. Rams

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The 49ers’ regular-season finale neither can improve nor harm their NFL playoff seeding.

But it can give a nice boost to quarterback Sam Darnold’s bank account.

Darnold will make his first start with the 49ers on Sunday, as coach Kyle Shanahan has opted to keep Pro Bowl quarterback Brock Purdy on the sideline. Brandon Allen will serve as the 49ers' backup Sunday.

As part of the contract that Darnold signed with the 49ers in March, he receives a $300,000 incentive for every game in which he plays at least 25 percent of the offensive snaps and the 49ers win.

The 49ers (12-4) conclude the regular season Sunday at Levi’s Stadium against the Los Angeles Rams (9-7). San Francisco is locked into the NFC's No. 1 playoff seed, and will have home-field advantage and a first-round bye in the playoffs.

The Rams also are heading for the playoffs, as they will be either the NFC’s No. 6 or No. 7 seed, and open the postseason next weekend. Coach Sean McVay announced that some of the Rams’ top players, such as quarterback Matthew Stafford and defensive lineman Aaron Donald, will not suit up.

General manager John Lynch said this week that Darnold turned down more lucrative contract offers as an unrestricted free agent to sign with the 49ers. Purdy started the first 16 games of the season, so Darnold has seen little playing time entering Week 18, with just 69 snaps in nine contests.

When asked this week if he has any second thoughts about his decision to sign with the 49ers, Darnold answered: “No. No. Zero regrets.”

Darnold signed a one-year, $4.5 million contract in the offseason, then beat out Trey Lance for the backup job behind Purdy. He also can earn an additional $100,000 for every playoff game in which he plays 50 percent or more of the 49ers’ offensive snaps.

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