Grade the Trade: Cowboys ship Trey Lance to AFC contender in genius proposal

This would be a perfect landing spot for Trey Lance.
New England Patriots v Dallas Cowboys
New England Patriots v Dallas Cowboys / Cooper Neill/GettyImages

A simple reading of the tea leaves will tell you that the Dallas Cowboys want Dak Prescott as their quarterback. Prescott will cost a lofty $40 million in dead money if he leaves next offseason, so it's no surprise the Cowboys are reportedly "all-in" on extending the Pro Bowler.

Beyond all the leverage that Prescott wields is the fact that Dallas doesn't have a clear succession plan if Prescott were to reach free agency. Some Cowboys fans believe Trey Lance should take the reins, but he's started only four games in his career and has yet to take a preseason snap with the team, let alone seen regular season action.

Lance showed better command of the Cowboys offense in OTAs and minicamp, but it's hard to take much stock in un-padded practices that don't allow any contact. Most NFL quarterbacks would look good in that setting.

It feels like the best-case scenario is that Lance shines in preseason and Dallas trades him for more than what they got him for (a 2024 fourth-round pick). Should that opportunity present itself, CBS writer Cody Benjamin proposed a genius landing spot for Lance: the Baltimore Ravens.

Cowboys trading Trey Lance to the Ravens would be a genius move

The Ravens' current backup behind Lamar Jackson is journeyman Josh Johnson. While Johnson is well-traveled and capable of running an offense, at 38 years old Baltimore would have to completely change its offense if Jackson were to miss time. Lance at least has a similar profile to the reigning MVP, meaning offensive coordinator Todd Monken wouldn't have to deviate much from his original scheme.

"Johnson deserves props for his stamina, entering Year 17 with his record 14th different team, but at 38, with only two passes thrown in the last two seasons, he's not exactly a high-upside insurance plan for the reigning NFL MVP in Lamar Jackson," Benjamin wrote. "Lance, meanwhile, is a relative unknown due to his injury-stricken start with the San Francisco 49ers, but his youth (24) and rushing ability are pluses, and the Dallas Cowboys have yet to use him behind Dak Prescott, likely lowering his price tag."

Benjamin makes a compelling case for Lance to backup Jackson. While he wouldn't have a clear pathway to playing time, it's worth noting that Jackson has missed at least one game in each of the last five seasons. Over the last three years, Jackson has missed a combined 10 games.

Prescott has missed four games during that same span, but all four came in 2022 after he fractured his thumb on the helmet of a Buccaneers defender. It was very much a freak injury. Prescott has been much more durable in his career than Jackson.

Lance likely couldn't fetch anything more than a day three pick right now. However, Mike McCarthy has all but confirmed that Lance will get the lion's share of reps in preseason. If Lance performs well in training camp and carries that momentum into preseason, he could have multiple suitors.

The Ravens would make the most sense, however. If they offer as much as a third-round pick, or allow the Cowboys to get their money back with a fourth-round selection, Jerry Jones should accept it on the spot.

Grade: A

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