Winners and losers of the Trey Lance trade: The 49ers cede former third overall pick to the Cowboys


Once the San Francisco 49ers effectively decided on Wednesday that Trey Lance was not in their immediate plans – even as he entered the third season of his rookie contract – it only took 48 hours to find a new home for him.

The The Niners dealt Lancethe third overall pick of the 2021 draft — a pick that has cost Silicon Valley’s home team significant venture capital — to the Dallas Cowboys for a fourth-round pick in 2024.

To say it was a stunning result given the excitement in the ‘Trey Area’ a season ago when Lance had ousted Jimmy Garoppolo as the club’s QB1 and was considered the longtime face of the franchise is an obvious understatement.

Who won and who lost while the dust was just beginning to settle? Further …


Trey Lance: The drop from QB1 to QB3 in a year — 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan informed Lance this week that journeyman Sam Darnold had won the team’s backup job — was hardly for a candidate with just 262 snaps and 102 passing attempts in the regular season ideal. especially since his development at North Dakota State had already been slowed down by the COVID-19 pandemic. No quarterback works invisibly for the American team, but at least Lance — he’s still only 23 — will have the benefit of a fresh start and, more importantly, a potential path back into a starting role, certainly as one Dak Prescotts fuse. He will also work for a trainer who is knowledgeable about sophomore training because…

Mike McCarthy: …say what you will about the Cowboys HC, but he has a track record of taking a young passer from mothball to superstar. Brett Favre was McCarthy’s starter during his first two years with the Green Bay Packers before they switched to Aaron Rodgers … who won the Super Bowl and league MVPs only after taking office in 2008. McCarthy’s scenario with Prescott and Lance might not be rosy on apples, but there’s a chance apples will turn into Granny Smith apples if Lance really has the ability Dallas is hoping for.

Brock Purdy: The “Mr. Irrelevant” of the 2022 draft As the 262nd and final pick, he only managed a 7-1 loss as a rookie for the 49ers last season. His only loss came in the NFC title game in Philadelphia when Purdy injured the ulnar collateral ligament in his throwing arm. With his wing proving healthy following surgical repairs, there was little doubt Purdy would reclaim the San Francisco starting XI. But now he doesn’t have to worry about Lance, his enormous talent and the huge burden the club has put on him, surfacing as specters after coming off, say, a three-game losing streak. All indications are that Purdy will be at the center of Levi’s Stadium for a long time to come.

Nick Bosa: The NFL’s reigning Defensive Player of the Year was a No show at the Niners’ training camp while trying to squeeze mega-bucks out of the team. With Lance’s money off the books, including a fully guaranteed salary cap of $5.3 million in 2024, there’s now much more scope to reach a long-term settlement with Bosa, arguably SF’s best player .

Brandon Allen: WHO? He turns 31 next month and has been a reserve in the league since being drafted in the sixth round by the Jacksonville Jaguars in 2016. However, Allen also likely has better job security with the 49ers for 2023 now that Lance has left the building. Don’t forget that despite winning the NFC West and narrowly reaching Super Bowl 57, San Francisco needed four quarterbacks last season. Purdy and Darnold already have enough entries on their respective medical charts that it stands to reason that Allen, who has nine pro starts, will have an opportunity to stay with him, whether on the 53-man roster or on the practice team.


Trey Lance: It all seems pretty unfair, but that’s life in the NFL. A broken ankle that required multiple surgeries reduced his chance of becoming San Francisco’s 2022 starter to five-quarters. Now in a completely alien situation, he has to find his way around life as a cowboy – on and off the field – on the fly, with no opportunity to settle in during the off-season. And the label “bust”. will surely start stalking Lance soon. Even if he succeeds with Dallas, his tenure at the Bay will forever be viewed as an absolute disaster.

Dak Prescott: Lance poses no threat to them Two-time Pro Bowler for the Cowboys and current QB1. Still. But Prescott is probably coming off his worst NFL season (barring his 2020 season cut short by injury) after throwing 15 interceptions league-wide and posting a 91.1 passer rating, the second-worst of his career. Prescott is under contract for two more seasons and the Cowboys have realized it’s time to consider an eventual deal. But Lance certainly adds more than a little intrigue to the mix. Maybe he’s just another arm coming through Jerry Jones’ palatial Ford Center after all. But maybe he’s Jordan Love South, who needs a few more years to develop before displacing the more established (and much more expensive) guy.

Cooper Rush: Prescott’s primary substitute is also – for now – tied to Dallas for a further two years. And Rush had seemingly established himself as a very reliable QB2 for the Cowboys, winning five of six starts in the past two years, including a record of more than 4-1 kept the club afloat when Prescott was injured at the beginning of last season. But Rush also has to wonder if his gravy train could reach the end of the line sooner than expected if Lance revs up fast enough to begin the practice snapshot and depth map positioning challenges.

John Lynch and Kyle Shanahan: Give them credit for the human touch they brought to Lance’s football misfortune, and always publicly praise him for both his valued potential as an NFL quarterback and his hard-working and personable persona who has been both San Francisco’s general manager and Coaches clearly were invested in personally (and, yes, professionally). But make no mistake: the return of a fourth-rounder for a player who cost you four draft picks — three of them first-rounders — to get the top spot in the 2021 draft can only be described as a football disaster.

“We take full responsibility. “This is ours,” Lynch said on Friday, while also expressing – despite conflicting feelings about completing the deal – that he wanted to put Lance in a position where he would have more options in training and ultimately in the games. “I think his story is completely unwritten. I have great confidence in the lad and I think that with his talent and work ethic he will build a good career in this matter. And so I love the child. … The Cowboys have made a lot of progress, and I think that’s a sign that they’re excited to have him and that we’re excited for Trey’s new opportunity. And we will always be big fans.”

Luckily for Lynch, who is now in his seventh year as GM, and Shanahan – who also came on board in 2017 – they have done their job so exceptionally well that otherwise they will undoubtedly survive a miscalculation that would result in weaker ones Men in their positions are permanent NFL resignation.

Follow USA TODAY Sports’ Nate Davis on X, formerly Twitter @ByNateDavis.

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