Cowboys: Is Trey Lance trade a warning shot to Dak Prescott?

The Dallas Cowboys made a trade for quarterback Trey Lance, and fans are wondering if he will be Dak Prescott's replacement.

Jul 31, 2023; Oxnard, CA, USA; Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott (4) during training camp at
Jul 31, 2023; Oxnard, CA, USA; Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott (4) during training camp at / Jason Parkhurst-USA TODAY Sports

The Dallas Cowboys possibly made the most shocking move of the offseason. On Friday night, the team agreed to terms with the San Francisco 49ers to acquire quarterback Trey Lance in exchange for a 2024 fourth-round draft pick. Lance is the No. 3 overall pick from the 2021 NFL Draft and was expected to be their quarterback for the future. But after two years, it didn't pan out. Now he's in Dallas to potentially revitalize his career.

It was understandable if any other team were to make this trade. But since it is the Cowboys, the question that comes to mind is, "Where does this leave Dak Prescott?" After all, he is the starting quarterback nearing the end of his contract.

Is Lance going to replace Prescott?

Is Cowboys' Trey Lance trade a warning for Dak Prescott?

It's too early to tell, but it doesn't hurt for a team to have a contingency plan set.

The Cowboys are looking to win the Super Bowl as soon as this upcoming season. Last year, Prescott didn't pay the greatest. Granted, he didn't have Amari Cooper on the roster last season, and he had missed five games due to a broken right thumb. But what stands out is that he tied the league lead for interceptions with 15 and had a less-than-stellar outing in the Divisional Round against the San Francisco 49ers, leading to the Cowboys' elimination.

While Prescott is under contract through the 2024 season, the team will have to decide his future with the team. As ProFootballTalk's Mike Florio points out, Prescott is set to carry a $59.4 million cap hit for the 2024 season. If the team were to cut him before June 1 in the 2024 league year, the Cowboys would have to eat $61.92 million in dead money. Yikes.

If Prescott has a strong year in 2024, he will likely look for a new deal, considering how much the price tag of the position has skyrocketed.

Lance hasn't had much playing time in the NFL. Eight games, to be specific. Last season was supposed to be his first as the 49ers starting quarterback. Unfortunately, he broke his ankle in the second game of the season. His spot was in jeopardy after Brock Purdy, the final pick of the 2022 NFL Draft, played well at the end of the season and helped lead the team to the NFC Championship Game. With Sam Darnold coming in as a free agent, the writing was on the wall for Lance, as Purdy was set to be the starter once he healed from offseason elbow surgery. His preseason outings weren't perfect, and Darnold impressed just enough to win the primary backup job.

Now, Lance will look to bounce back in Dallas. That opportunity may not come this year, barring an injury to Prescott. After this season, could he be the new starter over Prescott? We won't get a firm idea until after the 2023 campaign.