With a veteran presence in Dak Prescott under center entering the 2023 NFL season, how does Trey Lance fit into things for the Dallas Cowboys?
Just fine, Cowboys owner Jerry Jones implied to media in the aftermath of their trade for the young quarterback from the 49ers.
"Well, he gives us an opportunity to -- at a level that we probably had never gone in the draft -- to work and develop a young quarterback," Jones said Friday (h/t DallasCowboys.com). "And, you need to be doing that."
The Cowboys reportedly graded Lance as a second-round pick entering the 2021 NFL Draft, and on Friday, they sent a 2024 fourth-round pick to San Francisco in exchange for him over two years after their initial evaluation. Dallas liked Lance's athletic ability and arm strength during the draft process, Jones said, and the team was persistent in its efforts to trade for him.
"We hit this and figuratively didn't even get them off the phone, because we wanted him to get him in here," Jones said. "Not in any way to be confused that we're not betting on our success on Dak. We just need to, the Dallas Cowboys, where we can, be developing the best that we can develop for the future for quarterbacks."
Before the Cowboys' preseason game against the Las Vegas Raiders on Saturday, Jones told reporters he didn't consider any impact on Prescott before trading for Lance. The 30-year-old will have a cap hit of $59.4 million for the final year of his contract in 2024, with no-trade and no-tag clauses in his deal.
“Didn’t cross my mind -- period -- about an impact here regarding Dak,” Jones said Saturday (h/t Pro Football Talk). “I know that Dak wants to do anything we can do to improve this team. We’re going to do it. The facts are the decision to bring in as high a quality of talent as we could and that’s a young talent ... we’ve been trying to do what we did today ... almost every draft.”
San Francisco 49ers
But even though Jones didn't consider the impact a Lance trade would have on Prescott, he did think about how Prescott can help Lance, the former No. 3 overall pick of the 2021 draft.
“[Lance] gives us an opportunity to do what we would always like to be doing. It would be ideal with Dak to have a young, prospective, developing quarterback that could just be in the room ... with him,” Jones said Saturday. “This gives Trey not only what he got in San Francisco, but he [joins], in my mind, one of the finest quarterback rooms there is because Dak Prescott is in it. Dak Prescott’s finest quality to me is how he takes what he does in the classroom and takes it to the practice field.
"So, this really was in our mind very much that he was going to be coming into this situation with Dak."
It's unclear how much more playing time Lance will get in Dallas than he would have in San Francisco, but reps -- whether in practice or in games -- are what matter most at this stage in the quarterback's career. And with the Cowboys, it's clear Jones and the rest of the organization understand what they have in Lance and how they can help him succeed.
"We felt good about what we’ve seen on tape that he’s done since he’s been in the NFL, and it was one that we just made the decision almost the minute we heard the name," Jones said. "Let’s get him.”