Dallas Cowboys made the trade everyone else should have made

Dallas Cowboys, Trey Lance - Mandatory Credit: Stan Szeto-USA TODAY Sports
Dallas Cowboys, Trey Lance - Mandatory Credit: Stan Szeto-USA TODAY Sports /

The Dallas Cowboys made the trade just about every other NFL team should have made. Apparently, the best the San Francisco 49ers could get in return for former third-overall pick Trey Lance was just a fourth-round pick. And even that appeared to surprise 49ers GM John Lynch and head coach Kyle Shanahan…

The Dallas Cowboys acquired Trey Lance for the low price of a fourth-round pick, although that pick also represents decent value given the way the 49ers have absolutely killed his value this offseason. The 49ers made no attempt to make Lance appear to be the team’s no. 2 quarterback or even give an indication that he was in contention to be their QB1 this season. They named Sam Darnold the no. 2 QB behind Brock Purdy, which is effectively why John Lynch and Kyle Shanahan were likely surprised to get a 4th-round pick from Dallas in a trade.

When you drive a guy’s value down as low as possible to make him attractive to more teams in a trade and attempt to start a bidding war, you might just get lucky like this. Still, there’s no denying that the “value” the 49ers got for Trey Lance is horrendous. Look at this staggering statistic:

There is certainly some risk involved with the Dallas Cowboys acquiring Trey Lance. Even the fact that the 49ers traded up to get him in 2021 was a major risk considering Lance’s last full year of playing actual football was in 2019 with North Dakota State. It was an incredible year in which Lance threw for nearly 2,800 yards, 28 touchdowns, no interceptions, and also added 1,100 yards and 14 touchdowns as a runner. His raw talent was obvious. His arm talent is outstanding.

The 49ers obviously felt like with a year of learning Kyle Shanahan’s offense they could roll out their long-term plan for Lance in 2022 but he was injured very early in the season, and Wally Pipped (eventually) by 2022 7th-round pick Brock Purdy.

Lance is still just 23 years old. He is still tremendously talented. A 4th-round draft pick can very easily be recouped in another way (another player trade, trading down at some point in the NFL Draft, compensatory picks, etc.). It’s not like the Cowboys had to surrender a top-100 pick for Lance or even anything close. For a team that will obviously compete in the NFC this year (and going forward), the Cowboys may have even just bought themselves a future top-100 pick for the discounted price of a fourth-rounder.

The Dallas Cowboys are under no pressure to play Trey Lance right away. They also have a viable alternative for Dak Prescott, who has missed time in recent years due to injury. They also have a player who could contribute offensively in the running game in certain packages.

It’s so weird that, in a QB-driven league, more teams weren’t willing to pull the trigger on this kind of deal. QBs are the most valuable currency in the NFL and to get a 23-year-old player with this kind of talent for a 4th-round pick? That just doesn’t happen.