Shortly after trading him, 49ers general manager John Lynch said that the Cowboys "really wanted" Trey Lance, the former No. 3 overall pick who had recently been demoted to third string. Dallas ultimately acquired Lance after giving the 49ers a 2024 fourth-round pick.
Two years ago, the Cowboys had a second-round grade on Lance prior to the start of the 2021 NFL Draft, according to ESPN. San Francisco obviously thought higher of Lance, as it selected him instead of fellow quarterback Justin Fields, who was selected by the Bears six spots later.
As Lynch said Friday night, things obviously didn't work out for Lance in San Francisco. 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.
"Really hard day," Lynch said. "Such a wonderful young man. We took a shot and it didn't work out. We own that, we take accountability for it.
"His story is still very much unwritten. I'm excited for Trey. Dallas stepped up and really wanted him and they came after him. I think it's going to be a great landing spot for him. I can tell everybody it wasn't for lack of effort -- on Trey's part of our part -- that it didn't work. Circumstances took hold. He struggled through injuries. This team is ready to win, and we like our quarterback room. We like Brock Purdy a lot, we like Sam Darnold and we like Brandon Allen.
"We wish Trey all the best in Dallas. We'll always care about that young man and admire his work ethic and the person that he is."
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.
While they did salvage a fourth-round pick, the 49ers trading Lance just two years after making him the No. 3 overall pick is obviously not ideal, 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, Fields and Micah Parsons were taken shortly after the 49ers selected Lance).
Things didn't work out in San Francisco, but fresh starts can do wonders for a player, 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.