SANTA CLARA — The 49ers' regular season finale can neither improve nor hurt their postseason seeding.
But it could give a nice boost to quarterback Sam Darnold's bank account.
Darnold will make his first start for the 49ers on Sunday, with coach Kyle Shanahan opting to keep Pro Bowl quarterback Brock Purdy on the sidelines. Brandon Allen will serve as the 49ers' backup on Sunday.
As part of the contract Darnold signed with the 49ers in March, he receives a $300,000 bonus for every game in which he plays at least 25 percent of the offensive snaps and the 49ers win.
The 49ers (13-4) close out the regular season Sunday at Levi's Stadium against the Los Angeles Rams. San Francisco is locked into the No. 1 seed in the NFC playoffs and will have home-field advantage and a first-round bye in the playoffs.
The Rams are also headed to the playoffs. They will be either the sixth or seventh seed in the NFC 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, would not suit up.
General manager John Lynch said this week that Darnold turned down more lucrative contract offers as an unrestricted free agent in order to sign with the 49ers. Purdy started the first 16 games of the season for the 49ers, so Darnold saw little playing time before the Week 18 game.
When asked this week if he had any second thoughts about his decision to sign with the 49ers, Darnold responded: “No. No, no regrets.
Darnold signed a one-year, $4.5 million contract in the offseason and then beat out Trey Lance for the backup job behind Purdy.
He can also earn an additional $100,000 for each postseason game in which he plays 50 percent or more of the 49ers' offensive snaps.
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