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Cowboys owner Jerry Jones sees opportunity for Trey Lance to develop under Dak Prescott 

The Dallas Cowboys made a surprising move in acquiring quarterback Trey Lance from the San Francisco 49ers on the eve of the club's 2023 preseason finale.

Speaking Saturday after the announcement of the trade, Jerry Jones said he sees it as a great opportunity for Dak Prescott to help develop the former No. 3 overall pick.

"Well he gives us an opportunity to -- at a level that we probably had never gone in the draft -- to work and develop a young quarterback," the Cowboys owner said, via the team's official website. "And, you need to be doing that."

Jones added that while the team acted quickly to get Lance in Dallas, the decision doesn't affect the team's strong belief in Prescott as the QB1.

"We hit this and figuratively didn't even get them off the phone, because we wanted him to get him in here," he said. "Not in any way to be confused that we're not betting on our success on Dak. We just need to, the Dallas Cowboys, where we can, be developing the best that we can develop for the future for quarterbacks."

The Cowboys gave up a fourth-round pick for Lance, who the 49ers selected with the No. 3 overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft after trading multiple first-round picks in order to move up for the North Dakota State product.

Lance's tenure in San Francisco was frustrating, to say the least. The 23-year-old earned the starting job ahead of the 2022 season but a fractured ankle in Week 2 quickly ended his highly anticipated campaign. The subsequent rise of Brock Purdy, who led the Niners to the NFC Championship Game as a rookie last year, effectively put Lance in the rearview. The team naming Sam Darnold as the backup to Purdy for 2023 only furthered what appeared to be an imminent exit.

49ers players and coaches had nothing but great things to say about Lance upon his exit, and Jones believes the young QB is "well-advanced" after his time in the Bay Area. Recalling the Cowboys' scouting report of Lance in 2021, Jones is intrigued with a skill set that fits the mold of today's NFL.

"His athletic ability, his arm strength," Jones said. "And frankly, we knew he hadn't played a lot of football relative to -- let's say -- what Dak had played in college. But he's very athletic and he can, in my mind, really do both -- be a threat at running and throwing."

Lance will be due $6.25 million fully guaranteed over the next two seasons with a fifth-year option still available to the Cowboys if the situation presents itself. Should Lance's fresh start be what was needed for the young QB, it makes for an ideal situation for Dallas whether it be through having a quality backup on the roster or a future asset to have in its back pocket.

Either way, Jones is expecting Lance to grow in Dallas by virtue of its star QB.

"[Prescott] is just -- in terms of what a quarterback is about -- that No. 1 is somebody that the team will follow," Jones said. "He's the best I've ever seen or heard about. And just to hang out in that company will be a great asset to [Lance].

"We'll give him that kind of exposure with our coaches. Main thing is, our quarterback room, with the best leader I ever saw with Dak Prescott, will give him every chance to be the quarterback that he's got the potential of being."

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