Cowboys control league’s biggest QB mystery in Trey Lance

Cowboys QB talk has made its way back into the news. Instead of being about Dak Prescott and his upcoming contract negotiation, this time it’s about developmental prospect, Trey Lance.

Lance, acquired in a 2023 midseason trade with San Francisco, has reportedly sparked the interest of at least one QB-needy team this offseason. Under contract for the 2024 season, the Cowboys have the option of either exploring trade offers or staying the course by continuing to develop the 23-year-old signal caller.

As an undeveloped prospect, Lance has it all. He’s a highly-athletic dual threat who can create plays with his legs or with his arm. His plus traits keep his ceiling high even if his limited experience keeps his floor fairly low. Herein lies the trust.

Only two teams have truly seen what Lance has to offer as a QB prospect: the Cowboys and the 49ers. One of those teams traded him away for a fourth-round pick after just two seasons and the other team kept him buried as QB3 refusing to show their hand to anyone outside the organization.

With just 102 professional passing attempts, Lance is the NFL equivalent of Skinner’s box.

No one truly knows if he’s a good or bad prospect because there hasn’t been enough evidence available to back up either conclusion. For the Cowboys this means his value on the trade market is less than it would be if he had a few impressive games on his resume, but more than it would be if he had a few recent poor outings on his resume.

If the Cowboys thought they could have boosted Lance’s value by slipping him into some blowout situations last season, they probably would have. Keeping him sidelined kept the mystery alive. That could be in an effort to quietly groom him into the player they hoped he could be, or it could be to hide his shortfalls from would-be buyers this offseason. Only the Cowboys really know.

With just 420 passing attempts since high school, Lance remains one of the most unproven fourth-year prospects in the NFL. The former No. 3 overall pick of the 2021 NFL draft is packed with potential but at this point potential is all he offers.

The Cowboys got a free peak at Lance last season. They know his value more than anyone — save for San Francisco — so if they decide to keep him it’s for good reason. Just like if they decide to trade him, it’s also probably for good reason. There’s really no choice but to trust the Cowboys on this one.

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Story originally appeared on Cowboys Wire