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Independent Student Newspaper for the University of Texas at San Antonio

The Paisano

Independent Student Newspaper for the University of Texas at San Antonio

The Paisano

What does the arrival of Trey Lance mean for Dak Prescott?

The San Francisco 49ers selected quarterback Trey Lance with the 3rd overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft hoping he would be the missing piece in their flawless roster and lead the way to a championship. The 49ers brass thought it would be a good idea to have Lance sit and learn behind then starter Jimmy Garoppolo and be handed the keys to the franchise in the 2022 season.

Things were going as planned as Garoppolo led San Fransisco to the NFC Championship game, where they fell short of the Super Bowl at the hands of their division rival, the Los Angeles Rams. With Garappolos’ shortcomings well documented, the 49ers were ready to enter the Trey Lance era. 

Lance was only one game into the 2022 season when he broke his ankle in a divisional matchup against the Seattle Seahawks. This would be the last game Lance would start in San Francisco, as the rise of Brock Purdy, the 49ers rookie third-string quarterback, created a divide between Lance and the Niners coaching staff. 

After an awkward pre-season “competition” between Lance, Purdy and former 2018 first round pick Sam Darnold, Lance was named the third-string quarterback and promptly requested a trade, in which the 49ers granted his wish and was sent to Dallas for a fourth round pick.

This caused a lot of confusion in the NFL community. Lance needed a situation where he could earn a chance to start and be a franchise quarterback, but Dallas already has a proven starting quarterback in Dak Prescott whom they are paying $40 million a year. 

NFL fans are left questioning Cowboys owner Jerry Jones’s confidence in Prescott. Prescott’s struggles with turnovers, injury and lack of playoff success have only been amplified by the blue star that resides on the side of his helmet. Being the quarterback for America’s team isn’t easy, and there’s a short leash for failure. 

So what does this trade actually mean for Dak? 

In 2023, it means absolutely nothing. Dak will be the starter, with Lance and proven backup Cooper Rush competing for second-string reps. Jones explained the move as more of a long term project. 

“It would be ideal with Dak to have a young, prospective, developing quarterback that could just be in the room,” Jones said to the media before the Cowboys preseason game against Las Vegas on Aug. 26.

What Jones says could be true, but Lance could have also been acquired to light a fire under Prescott. The Philadelphia Eagles used a similar strategy when they drafted Jalen Hurts to push then starter Carson Wentz, which ultimately ended with Wentz flaming out and Hurts becoming a superstar for the Eagles.

In 2022, Prescott was out for six games due to injury, which caused backup Cooper Rush to come in, who went on and won five straight games, which created a genuine discussion of whether Dallas should stick with Rush. When Rush suffered a loss to the Eagles, Prescott was back as the starter the following week. Rush was an undrafted free agent; Lance was the third overall pick. If Lance were to come in for any reason, show flashes and win, expect Jones to roll with the young gun. 

If Prescott were to get injured, which is likely since he has not played an entire season since 2019, Lance would have his shot at becoming the starter. 

Dallas hasn’t been farther than the Divisional Round since their last Super Bowl win in 1995. The pressure to perform is always high in Arlington, which leads to the Cowboys ownership not having a lot of patience with underperforming players. Do not expect Lance to have a big impact in 2023, but the seat could get hot for Dak real fast if the Cowboys were to come up short in the postseason again.

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About the Contributor
Rylan Renteria, Distribution Manager
Rylan is a psychology major in his junior year at UTSA, and is entering his second semester as a writer for The Paisano. As a major fan of both the Seattle Seahawks and Mariners, Rylan is also very supportive of the San Antonio Spurs and all UTSA Athletics which can be shown in his commentary writing pieces. Aside from watching sports, Rylan enjoys watching horror movies, playing video games and playing intramural sports.

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  • K

    Kristin TourvilleOct 13, 2023 at 7:31 am

    Wrench dak it’s the only chance the cowboys got. Why Jerry don’t see something the entire world can see. It’s over for dak