Insider reveals AFC contenders Cowboys outbid for Trey Lance

The Cowboys made the 49ers an offer they couldn't refuse.

San Francisco 49ers v Las Vegas Raiders
San Francisco 49ers v Las Vegas Raiders / Ethan Miller/GettyImages

It seemed inevitable that the San Francisco 49ers would trade Trey Lance. With Cooper Rush cemented as Dak Prescott's backup and Prescott due for an extension, though, the Dallas Cowboys never felt like a realistic landing spot.

Sure enough, it was the Cowboys who went out and acquired Lance from the 49ers on Friday in a move that stunned the NFL landscape.

Still just 23 years old, Lance has ample time to develop and jumpstart his career. And he can do so without the pressure of being the No. 3 overall pick whom the 49ers gave up three first-round picks (and a third-rounder) to draft two years ago.

What team wouldn't jump at that opportunity? Quite a few actually, but it was the Cowboys who ultimately galvanized San Francisco by offering a fourth-round pick. In doing so, Dallas outbid a pair of AFC contenders.

Per insider Dianna Russini of The Athletic, the Bills and Ravens had talks with the 49ers about a possible Lance trade.

Cowboys Rumors: Dallas outbid AFC contenders to acquire Trey Lance from 49ers

The Ravens and Bills are two of the most well-run franchises in the NFL, so it speaks volumes both showed interest in Lance. Neither team has an established backup behind Lamar Jackson and Josh Allen, respectively, and both clearly viewed Lance as a low-risk, high-reward acquisition if they could get it over the line.

The Cowboys made sure that didn't happen. During Friday' broadcast of the 49ers' preseason finale against the Chargers, San Francisco general manager John Lynch said "Dallas stepped up and really wanted him [Lance]."

Russini also noted that the 49ers' initial focus was moving Lance to the AFC. That's typically the case when high-profile players -- especially QBs -- are made available. In recent years, Aaron Rodgers, Russell Wilson, Matt Ryan, Baker Mayfield and Carson Wentz were all traded to the opposite conference.

By offering a fourth-round pick, the Cowboys forced San Francisco to pivot and deal Lance in-conference, which suggests the Niners were underwhelmed by the conditional sixth-rounders offered by other teams.

It's impossible to heap any more praise on the Cowboys' front office.

Outbidding other teams doesn't mean they overpaid for Lance, either. A fourth-round draft pick is exceptional value for a team that wanted to draft a quarterback this year anyway and Lance's value could return to that of a second-round pick down the line if he develops into a high-end backup or starter.

Remember, this is a player who burst onto the scene at North Dakota State at 19 years old with numbers comparable to Justin Fields and Joe Burrow.

A chance of scenery is oftentimes all it takes to unlock a player's potential. That could have happened for Lance in Baltimore, Buffalo or even Detroit, but the Cowboys offered the 49ers a deal they couldn't refuse.