Trey Lance has played his final down with the San Francisco 49ers. Just two days after demoting him, the 49ers traded Lance to the Dallas Cowboys for a 2024 fourth-round pick, as confirmed by CBS Sports Lead NFL Insider Jonathan Jones.
The writing was on the wall for Lance in San Francisco when the 49ers demoted him to third-string behind starter Brock Purdy and backup Sam Darnold. Lance was slated to play in the 49ers' third preseason game on Friday night against the Chargers prior to being traded to Dallas.
Lance, who suffered an injury after just two starts last season, started four games during his first two years with the 49ers, with mixed results. The 49ers went 2-2 in those games with Lance completing just 55% of his passes with five touchdowns and three picks. But Lance was essentially thrown into the fire last year when Jimmy Garoppolo went down with a season-ending injury.
According to The Athletic, the 49ers have opened up $940,000 in 2023 salary-cap space and $5.3 million in 2024 cap space. Dallas will take on all of Trey Lance's fully guaranteed contract.
More than 30 years ago, the 49ers made a head-scratching trade when they dealt pass rusher Charles Haley to the Cowboys. Haley ended up being a Hall of Fame player, and his presence in Dallas helped the Cowboys defeat the 49ers in the next two NFC Championship Games. It'll be interesting to see if history repeats itself regarding Lance and the trade that went down Friday night.
Here's our instant grades for Friday night's trade, a trade that sent shockwaves through the NFL during the final weekend of the preseason.
Credit the 49ers for quickly finding a trade partner and getting decent capital in return. A fourth-round pick is nothing to scoff at, especially in exchange for a quarterback with a 54.9 completion percentage who was just demoted to third string.
San Francisco gets dinged, however, for trading Lance just two years after making him the No. 3 overall pick. The fact that they gave up on him after two years isn't a great look, especially when you look at the players they could have taken with that pick (Ja'Marr Chase, Jaylen Waddle, Jaycee Horn, Patrick Surtain II, Devonta Smith, Justin Fields and Micah Parsons were taken shortly after the 49ers selected Lance).
This grade might be a little high, considering that Lance is an unproven player who the 49ers essentially gave up on. But sometimes all a player needs is a fresh start, and that could be the case for Lance, who could unlock his potential in Dallas under Mike McCarthy's tutelage.
Lance has the luxury of working with Prescott, who should be an ideal mentor for the young quarterback. Best case, Lance becomes an adequate backup who can step in and perform well enough to keep the train on the tracks. Worst case, Lance doesn't materialize, and the Cowboys lost a considerable draft pick that could have been used to shore up another part of the roster.