Former 49ers 1st-round draft bust will likely need a new team in 2025

The Cowboys are reportedly declining Trey Lance's fifth-year option.
Dallas Cowboys quarterback Trey Lance (15)
Dallas Cowboys quarterback Trey Lance (15) / Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Trey Lance doesn't look as if he'll be hanging around with the Cowboys after this season as they're reportedly declining his fifth-year option.

There are plenty of San Francisco 49ers fans and analysts who wanted nothing but seeing quarterback Trey Lance, the Niners' high-profile top pick from the 2021 NFL Draft, pan out.

Ultimately, it didn't work and for a variety of reasons.

The Niners' aggressive trade-up to No. 3 overall in that year's draft cast a long shadow, although the ascent of fellow quarterback Brock Purdy mostly covered up the reach and also prompted San Francisco to trade Lance to the Dallas Cowboys for a fourth-round pick in this year's draft, one which was used on former Wake Forest defensive back Malik Mustapha.

Yet Lance didn't exactly find himself in an ideal situation in Dallas either, emerging as last season's third-string option behind quarterbacks Dak Prescott and Cooper Rush.

Lance didn't see action in a single regular-season game for the Cowboys his first year there.

Cowboys to decline Trey Lance's 5th-year option, QBs future very much in doubt

According to a report from ESPN's Todd Archer, the Cowboys are going to decline Lance's fifth-year option, which would have come at a cost of over $22 million guaranteed. Barring a contract extension, the former North Dakota State product will become a free agent once the 2024 season is complete.

As Archer pointed out, both Prescott and Rush are poised to be free agents in 2025, too, but one might conclude Prescott ultimately returns on a new contract.

Via Archer, Dallas apparently is leaving the door open for a Lance return, however.

"We think Lance is a good addition looking ahead," Cowboys owner Jerry Jones recently. "I've got him right here in this draft as if he was a draft pick for us."

While possible, Dallas might simply be keeping its options open. Should Lance not show major strides in what'll now be his fourth season at the pro level, it's more likely Jones and the Cowboys merely let him hit the open market.

Not necessarily great news for Lance, who missed the bulk of 2022 because of a broken ankle and saw starting action in just two other games his rookie season.

It'd be awfully difficult for any quarterback with such a résumé to land a new gig of any significance with another team, which casts some serious doubts on Lance's grim long-term future in the NFL.

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