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Eatman: 5 reasons to like this Trey Lance trade


FRISCO, Texas – If you came here for a recap or some analysis of the preseason finale against the Raiders, this isn't your place. Sorry, I'm not sorry, but we've got plenty of other stories for that on the website.

I figured I'd take this space to discuss the story of the weekend as the Cowboys made somewhat of a surprising move to trade for Trey Lance, giving the 49ers a fourth-round pick next year.

OK, forget "somewhat." It was definitely a shock considering the fact we've been looking at kicker, linebacker, offensive line depth and maybe running back as possible needs to trade for.

But a third quarterback? Wasn't really on the radar, especially one that was the No. 3 overall pick just a few years ago.

I mean, this guy was drafted nine slots ahead of Micah Parsons. I know we can play that game all day long, and Micah realistically should've been drafted No. 1 or 2. But still, Lance was the No. 3 overall pick that year and I do remember thinking that felt very high to me. Either way, the 49ers cut ties with him, turning that No. 3 overall pick into a fourth-round pick three years later.

In time, we'll find out if it's a good move for the Cowboys or 49ers, or both, or neither.

But right here, right now, I think it's a good move for the Cowboys and I've got a few reasons why. Let's get straight to it:

1. Any time you can steal value, go for it. Like I just said, time will tell if the Cowboys are getting a lot of value in Lance, but at the age of 23, they're getting an athletic, young quarterback with tons of potential and upside. Lance doesn't even have to give anything this year, but I'll say this, with so many athletic quarterbacks on the schedule, he could give the defense a good look on the scout team as he continues to learn this new offense and develop his game.

2. This is a theory that I know Jerry Jones subscribes to, passed down from guys like Al Davis, Tex Schramm and even Bill Parcells. But at some point, some team thought very highly of this player, and in this case, several teams did. So it didn't work out with the 49ers. That doesn't mean it won't here. There are too many cases around the league and several here with Dallas – guys like Marc Colombo, Ken Hamlin, Rolando McClain, Malik Hooker, to name a few, who didn't exactly work with their first team but the Cowboys took a chance on them to see if they could revive their careers in Dallas. Now, it doesn't always work out. Pacman Jones, Dimitrius Underwood and Takk McKinley were first-round picks and didn't exactly succeed. But in this case, I'm fine with the attempt.

3. Fourth-round picks are so hit-and-miss anyway. And please Dak-me on this. Yeah, I've got your Dak Prescott in the fourth round who turned out to be a franchise quarterback. You do realize the Cowboys drafted Charles Tapper in the fourth ahead of Dak that same year. Yes, the last four franchise tags given out by the Cowboys have been to fourth-rounders in Dak twice and Dalton Schultz and Tony Pollard. The Cowboys have also drafted Josh Ball, Jake Ferguson, Jabril Cox, Tyler Biadasz, Dorance Armstrong, Reggie Robinson, Junior Fehoko and B.W. Webb here in the last decade or so. Like I said, some really good selections, and some that are forgettable. Parting ways with a fourth-round pick to land a quarterback with this kind of potential seems like a logical move.

4. Don't forget the Cowboys would've probably drafted a quarterback in the mid-rounds anyway. Let's just assume Dak has a pretty good season. I think he'll play better than last year. Less picks, more touchdowns. And even if the success on the field is about the same, I don't think the Cowboys will be moving on from Dak – probably looking to rework his deal and give him an extension. If that is the case, they still draft a quarterback anywhere from the third round to the fifth. That being said, here's your 2024 fourth-round pick right now, already in the building with a season under his belt. Now, his $4.5 million base salary is way higher than a fourth-round pick, but if somehow Lance can become the backup, that's pretty much in the ballpark for paying quality backup QBs these days.

5. If for some reason, things don't work out too well with Dak – either he struggles on the field or they just can't agree on a new deal or extension – getting a player like Lance who can develop is somewhat of a safety net for this. And they did that, with a fourth-round pick.

All in all, there are plenty of other reasons that make sense for this move. Way more "pros" than "cons" for this because, at the end of the day, the Cowboys are taking a chance on a quarterback that one team figured was good enough to be the face of the franchise. And while that team has since moved on, now it's the Cowboys' turn to see what he's got.

And it took a fourth-round pick to see.

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