The Trey Lance era in San Francisco has come to an end. According to NFL insider Adam Schefter, the 49ers have traded Lance to the Dallas Cowboys in exchange for a 4th round pick in the 2024 draft.
Several factors played into Lance not fulfilling the potential San Francisco saw in the quarterback when they selected him third overall in the 2021 draft.
Dallas represents a fresh start for Lance who had the best training camp of his time in San Francisco this season. That performance speaks to the character of Trey Lance. Despite knowing the odds were stacked against him, he did everything possible to show the best version of himself to Kyle Shanahan and the 49ers front office.
Let’s be clear, Lance was the second-best quarterback on the practice field in Santa Clara this offseason. By choosing Sam Darnold over Lance as the backup to Brock Purdy and now trading him away, the 49ers have weakened their quarterback room.
Lance was set to cost the 49ers $9,301,434 million against the 2023 salary cap. San Francisco will incur a dead cap hit this season of $8,361,434 million, saving them just $940,000. In 2024 the 49ers will incur a dead cap hit of $5,540,956 in 2024, however this will be an overall savings of $5,310,717 against the salary cap.
Dallas will now have the opportunity to decide whether they will pick up the fifth year option on Lance following this season. Lance’s rookie contract runs through 2024 and Dallas could choose to move forward with him instead of Dak Prescott. Prescott’s contract also runs through the 2024 season.
For San Francisco, they need to hope this doesn’t turn out the same way as their last big trade with Dallas. In August of 1992 San Francisco sent Charles Haley to the Cowboys in exchange for second and third round draft picks the following year. The move proved to be the final piece Dallas needed as the Cowboys went on to win three Super Bowls over the next four seasons.