49ers Sam Darnold Dec 17, 2023; Glendale, Arizona, USA; San Francisco 49ers quarterback Sam Darnold (14) throws a pass against the Arizona Cardinals during the first half at State Farm Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

With the San Francisco 49ers having already locked up the NFC’s top overall seed, head coach Kyle Shanahan has a decision to make about which starters he will want to play in Sunday’s season finale against the Los Angeles Rams.

Running back Christian McCaffrey has already been ruled out, as he is nursing a calf strain that is expected to be healed in three weeks when the 49ers will play in the Divisional Round.

Starting quarterback Brock Purdy will also sit Sunday, as Sam Darnold will get the nod at starter, Shanahan said Wednesday via San Jose Mercury News reporter Cam Inman.

“Brock’s the only guy for sure I don’t plan on playing,” Shanahan said.

It would be surprising if players like wide receivers Deebo Samuel and Brandon Aiyuk or tight end George Kittle see too much action, however, as San Francisco has virtually nothing to play for and will not want to risk injuries heading into the postseason.

Darnold signed a one-year deal with the 49ers in March 2023 and was named Purdy’s backup coming out of training camp, leading to former first-round pick Trey Lance being dealt to the Cowboys.

Darnold is a former first-round pick himself, as the New York Jets selected him third overall in the 2018 NFL Draft out of USC. He spent three seasons with the Jets before being dealt to the Carolina Panthers, where he remained in 2021 and 2022.

[Cam Inman]