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Jerry Jones: Trey Lance trade not about Dak Prescott but about acquiring young talent

The Cowboys insist their decision to acquire Trey Lance in a trade with the 49ers had nothing to do with Dak Prescott and everything to do with their pre-draft evaluation of Lance.

Prescott has a salary cap charge of $59.4 million looming for 2024, the final year of his contract, and he has no-trade and no-tag clauses in his deal. It took the Cowboys almost two years to sign Prescott to a four-year, $160 million deal in 2021.

But Cowboys owner Jerry Jones downplayed the idea that the trade for Lance gives the team leverage with their starting quarterback.

“Didn’t cross my mind — period — about an impact here regarding Dak,” Jones said before Saturday night’s preseason game against the Raiders. “I know that Dak wants to do anything we can do to improve this team. We’re going to do it. The facts are the decision to bring in as high a quality of talent as we could and that’s a young talent . . . we’ve been trying to do what we did today . . . almost every draft.”

Jones said the team did not communicate with Prescott that they were trading for Lance, who Dallas graded as a second-round pick before the 49ers took him No. 3 overall in 2021, Todd Archer of ESPN reports.

Lance begins his Cowboys’ career as the third quarterback behind Prescott and Cooper Rush, but the team hopes he develops into something more. They are counting on Prescott helping develop Lance.

“He gives us an opportunity to do what we would always like to be doing. It would be ideal with Dak to have a young, prospective, developing quarterback that could just be in the room . . . with him,” Jones said. “This gives Trey not only what he got in San Francisco, but he [joins], in my mind, one of the finest quarterback rooms there is because Dak Prescott is in it. Dak Prescott’s finest quality to me is how he takes what he does in the classroom and takes it to the practice field. So, this really was in our mind very much that he was going to be coming into this situation with Dak.

“We didn’t waste any time. The minute that we knew that they were serious about trading him, then we didn’t want the phone to hang up. We felt good about him, about the evaluation we had before the draft. We felt good about what we’ve seen on tape that he’s done since he’s been in the NFL, and it was one that we just made the decision almost the minute we heard the name. Let’s get him.”

Jones said the Cowboys were targeting Jalen Hurts before the Eagles traded him 53rd overall in 2020. They long have wanted a young prospect to develop, and they now have him.

What that means for Prescott in the future remains to be seen.