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Next Man Up: Expectations for Trey Lance in 2024


Like many teams around the league, the Cowboys sent a strong message in free agency. However, it wasn't in the form of adding a lot of players or keeping the majority of their own. What seems clear for the Cowboys is their willingness to give opportunities to younger players on the team.

This roster is loaded with players still on their rookie contracts that haven't had that breakout season just yet. Could it be this year? The Cowboys can only hope, especially considering they signed just one player (Eric Kendricks) in free agency and currently have just six picks in the NFL Draft later this month.

So the Cowboys have to lean on some of their previous drafts and free-agent signings to help fill out this roster.

Today, we'll continue the series with quarterback Trey Lance.

  • Name: Trey Lance
  • Position: Quarterback
  • Experience: 4th Year
  • Games Played/Starts: 8 / 4
  • Years Left on Contract: 1
  • How Acquired: Trade 2023 (with San Francisco)
  • Key Stat: In his four career starts, Lance is 2-0 at home and 0-2 on the road – all four games with the 49ers.

The Past: Drafted as the No. 3 overall pick in 2021, Lance was supposed to be the quarterback of the future for the 49ers. But obviously, things changed with injuries to Lance, coupled with the surprise play of Brock Purdy. That put Lance on the trading block and the 49ers sent him to Dallas last August for a fourth-round pick this year. Lance spent all of the 2023 season as the third quarterback and his only work on the field occurred in practice.

The Present: This will undoubtedly be an important season for Lance, who should get a lot of reps in the offseason, training camp and of course in the preseason games. Dak Prescott hasn't taken a preseason snap since 2019 so don't expect that to change this year. Cooper Rush will likely get some but the Cowboys won't be as excited to see him as they will with Lance, who might even get a full game or two in the preseason. Perhaps there is a chance Lance can beat out Rush for the backup job, which would give him one step closer to getting in the games during the regular season.

The Future: One way or another, the Cowboys need to figure out how to develop Lance more than last year. This is the final year of his contract because they opted not to pick up the fifth-year option, which would've been for $22.4 million in 2025. That doesn't mean they couldn't re-sign him after the season but without knowing what he can do on the field, it'll be a challenge to figure out the right cost. But don't forget, the Cowboys gave up a fourth-round pick for the chance to develop Lance so they're going to do whatever they can to at least get him enough reps to bolster his trade value, if nothing else. It should be an interesting next few months for Lance and the entire quarterback room.

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