By Alex Al-Kazzaz
Earlier this week, the San Francisco 49ers announced Sam Darnold as the backup quarterback to Brock Purdy. Immediately after, it was reported that the 49ers would explore trade options for third-year quarterback Trey Lance. The move is complete; Lance has been traded to the Dallas Cowboys.
The 49ers drafted Lance third overall in the 2021 NFL Draft out of North Dakota State. He started his rookie season as Jimmy Garoppolo's backup. Lance would briefly assume the starting role while Garoppolo was hurt, only to be quickly relegated back to the backup role. Last year, he beat Garoppolo for the starting job, but he suffered a gruesome ankle injury in Week 2, ending his season and potential career in San Francisco.
During his time in the 49ers, Lance started four games and amassed a 2-2 record as a starter. The situation is an unfortunate set of circumstances for the 49ers organization. They traded three first-round draft picks to draft Lance. To say that things didn't work out would be a massive understatement.
A move to Dallas is a much-needed fresh start for Lance. With Dak Prescott being the starter, the question is who will be backup and third-string. Longtime backup Cooper Rush will likely retain the role, but the third-string spot may be up for grabs.
Quarterback Will Grier may end up on the practice squad, and Lance could fall into the third-tier spot, but if that's the case, why did San Francisco trade him in the first place? The timing of the trade was terrible, considering the 2023 season is less than two weeks away.
Nothing is guaranteed for Lance. There's the slightest possibility that he could be released by Dallas anytime between now and the middle of the season. It'll be a while before Lance's status with the team becomes clear. Lance will have to prove himself and work his way back up. Prescott is currently signed through the 2024 season, so as far as Lance being the starting quarterback in Dallas in 2025? Easy there, Cowboy...