The Trey Lance trade was about minimal Cowboys upside and a Jerry Jones ego stroke — not Dak Prescott’s future

When the commerce first went down, the response throughout NFL entrance workplaces to Trey Lance’s new residence was much like the response of followers and analysts. On the prime of his professional personnel scouting guidelines, Lance wanted on-field snaps for growth, and wasn’t remotely able to contribute to a staff residing inside a contending window.

So why did the Dallas Cowboys come calling with a fourth-round draft choose — with zero qualifiers — that no different staff was keen to placed on the desk?

“Your guess is nearly as good as mine,” one AFC basic supervisor stated. “They will’t need him to begin this season. He’s nonetheless a third-string QB on roster — a good deeper third string in Dallas, as a result of [Sam] Darnold hasn’t performed for the [49ers] and Cooper Rush has gained some necessary video games in Dallas. Rush has been of their program for years. If the analysis is honest, Trey needs to be fairly far behind Cooper earlier than you even get to how far he’s behind Dak.”

This wasn’t a one-off opinion. There was a typical thread of that soccer sensibility stringing collectively a number of entrance workplace executives who responded to questions in regards to the Cowboys’ logic. However there’s some nuance to be discovered with regards to how the commerce may influence beginning quarterback Dak Prescott, the function Jerry Jones performed within the choice, and the way the Cowboys can understand some worth with the transfer down the road. That’s the place the meat of this acquisition could be discovered. So let’s discover that.

First, the tangible influence on Prescott. From an out of doors optics perspective, it does put a ding within the veneer. The importance of that blemish is a matter of argument, however the actuality is Prescott had questions in regards to the transfer dropped at his doorstep, to not point out hypothesis about the way it may influence his extension negotiations. Past that, we additionally have been left to interpret what it signifies that possession didn’t clue him in on the commerce. And eventually, Prescott did lose a good friend within the quarterback room who he was shut with in Will Grier.

All of that is unpackable.

Sure, Prescott had the awkward second of sorting by means of the commerce with reporters. However he’s been on this franchise for seven years and has at all times been adept at dealing with the clunky method that Jones goes about his enterprise. And whereas Prescott did lose Grier from his quarterback room, a supply conversant in the Cowboys instructed Yahoo Sports activities that Grier was seemingly going to be minimize anyway. Additional, Prescott isn’t remotely nervous about Lance as a teammate, who arrives with none character baggage.

As one supply stated of Lance, “He’s child and that solely helps.”

The larger concern is the hypothesis about Prescott’s contract negotiations. On that matter, right here is the scenario in a nutshell, from individuals who will probably be concerned within the extension: Neither facet is nervous in regards to the extension and the final really feel is that barring some form of implosion on the sector, it’s going to be a no brainer negotiation for either side.

“That’s media [stuff],” one AFC basic supervisor stated, referring to the potential for Lance to influence Prescott’s extension. “It’s not even logical. You’ll be able to say ‘Effectively, if this occurs or that occurs’ however that’s simply speak. That’s not what’s actual. For him to push in any method Dak, he must play. And if you happen to’re taking part in him over Dak by selection, then you definately’re not extending Dak anyway. Even an damage — I don’t suppose Lance would begin over [Cooper Rush] both. … Lance already couldn’t beat out Jimmy [Garoppolo], Brock Purdy and Sam Darnold. He fell from two to a few [on the depth chart] and received traded for most likely a late fourth [rounder]. If he even developed right into a Dak a couple of years from now, that might be a reasonably large win. So there’s actually no menace proper now. How Dak performs this season is what issues for his extension.”

The Cowboys’ commerce for Trey Lance (15) doesn’t suggest that a lot for Dak Prescott, however there’s a sideshow aspect to it. (AP Photograph/LM Otero)

After all, that doesn’t imply there isn’t a sideshow facet to all of this. If Lance actually is nothing greater than a third-string quarterback with no prospects of pushing Prescott, then his addition is a frivolous ego pump by Jones that solely provides a distracting aspect to the combination. A facet which is already palpable, given the urgent questions in regards to the lack of involvement within the commerce from head coach Mike McCarthy and the dearth of a heads up for Prescott. The distraction is there already — however the one payoff up to now has been Jones telling the world that Dallas had a second-round grade on Lance in 2021 and received him for a fourth-round choose in 2023. Which was a win Jones was excited to level out, regardless if the precise match made any actual sense.

The a part of the mathematics Jones leaves out is that Lance had a second-round grade on the Dallas draft board earlier than anybody knew what he appeared like taking NFL reps. With that factored into the combination, the remainder of the NFL wasn’t keen to supply a fourth-round choose for him final week. Which mainly signifies that Lance’s present draft worth isn’t increased than a fifth-round choose to different groups.

That’s to not say Dallas risked a lot within the commerce. Neither is it to say the draw back is minimal. If something, there could be some worth to be discovered. With Rush having two years left on his deal, Lance may develop sufficient in observe and subsequent 12 months’s offseason passing program to make Rush expendable. He may additionally play nicely sufficient within the 2024 preseason to make himself a viable free agent heading into the 2025 offseason — which may end in Dallas recouping a compensatory choose down the road.

If we’re rating situations, these are way more achievable outcomes than Lance someway stealing away Prescott’s job and not using a catastrophic run of quarterback accidents — to not point out Lance abruptly changing into the participant he’s by no means been in another alternative. However these long-odds developments gained’t cease the hypothesis. How good Lance appears to be like at any given second will seemingly be measured towards how dangerous Prescott appears to be like in each doable occasion.

However one 12 months from now, the readability will seemingly seem like this: Prescott may have his extension in place, Lance will probably be far behind him on the depth chart, and essentially the most impactful a part of this whole commerce will probably be that Jerry Jones did it in any respect, with so little likelihood to attain the upside that made the distraction price it.

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