The San Francisco 49ers are trading quarterback Trey Lance to the Dallas Cowboys in exchange for a fourth-round pick, general manager John Lynch and coach Kyle Shanahan confirmed to Nick Wagoner and Todd Archer of ESPN.

Lance was selected third overall by the 49ers in the 2021 NFL Draft. He lost the backup quarterback job to Sam Darnold earlier this week and requested a trade out of San Francisco on Wednesday after a meeting with Shanahan.

The head coach said he wanted Lance to stay as the team’s third quarterback, but acknowledged that his reps in practice would be limited behind Darnold and starter Brock Purdy.


“He told us that he would like another opportunity to go somewhere where he had a chance to be the No. 2,” Shanahan said Friday, according to’s Coral Smith. “We thought we got some good deals for him; there was a number of teams involved. To end up getting the fourth was a little better than we anticipated and clears up a lot of money and allows a better situation for him, too.”

San Francisco gave up a huge package – three first-round picks and a third-rounder – to move up from 12th overall to land Lance at No. 3 two years ago. With the young signal-caller’s time with the 49ers now over, the move is arguably the biggest misstep of Lynch’s tenure.

“Really hard day, such a wonderful young man,” Lynch said on the 49ers’ preseason broadcast Friday, according to Tom Pelissero of NFL Network. “We took a shot and it didn’t work out. We own that. We take accountability for it.”

He added: “We like our quarterback room. We like Brock Purdy a lot, we like Sam Darnold and we like Brandon Allen. So we wish Trey the best in Dallas.”

Shanahan permitted Lance to miss practice Wednesday after he was named the No. 3 quarterback. He returned to the team Thursday morning.

The North Dakota State product is owed $6.5 million in guaranteed salary over the next two seasons, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL Network.

Lance will now slot into the Cowboys’ quarterback room, which includes Dak Prescott, Cooper Rush, and Will Grier.

Prescott signed a four-year, $160-million contract extension in 2021. The two sides have reportedly had talks about another extension to lock up the passer long-term. He’s set to have a $59.4-million cap hit in 2024, according to Over The Cap.

Lance has battled injuries since entering the league. He suffered a broken finger in the 2021 preseason and dealt with a knee injury that held him to only two starts in six games during the campaign. The signal-caller was named the starting quarterback in 2022 but suffered a season-ending broken ankle in Week 2.

Lance’s eight total games with the 49ers are the fewest by any top-five pick with the team he debuted with since the common draft era began in 1967, according to Field Yates of ESPN. Ja’Marr Chase, Jaylen Waddle, DeVonta Smith, and Micah Parsons were all selected after Lance.

The 23-year-old has 797 passing yards with five touchdowns and three interceptions in four career starts.

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