In one of the strangest trades in recent memory, yesterday the 49ers dealt quarterback Trey Lance to the arch-rival Cowboys for a fourth-round pick. It’s a perplexing and fascinating trade on many levels – and says a lot about both organizations – which are among the NFC contenders that the Seahawks will likely have to get past this year if they intend to finally get back to the conference title game for the first time in nearly a decade.
Here’s a breakdown of what it means for all three teams.
It’s not hard to figure out why Dallas did what they did, here. Their third-string QB Will Grier was less than inspiring in last weekend’s preseason loss to Seattle, so Jerry Jones went out of his way to get the former No. 3 overall pick. According to Cowboys Wire, Lance will be playing in the QB3 spot behind Dak Prescott and Cooper Rush, who started five games last year, posting a lucky 4-1 record while Prescott was out injured. If that happens again, the Cowboys have another option who is far more athletically gifted than Rush.
While it’s always nice to get a fourth-round pick for a guy who would have been your third-string quarterback, this trade reflects pretty poorly on the Niners front office and their process with Lance from start to finish. The injury he suffered early last season was nobody’s fault, but the rest of it was low-quality work from the trade to get him until the end. This week’s admission that the Niners didn’t even build an offense for Lance proves that he never had a legitimate chance to start long-term. And so, their backup behind Brock Purdy will be Sam Darnold, an atrocious starter at this level but has more lives than a black cat.
In some ways this is a wash for Seattle in that one backup quarterback with high upside is going from one NFC contender to another. However, it could turn out quite lucky for the Seahawks depending on how the Niners’ season goes. If Purdy can’t reproduce the late-season magic he had last year, Kyle Shanahan may give the ball to turnover-prone Darnold, which could bode very well for the Seahawks – no matter how loaded the rest of their roster is.
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