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What's Patriots Mac Jones Trade Mean to Trey Lance Cowboys Future?

After the New England Patriots' meager return for Mac Jones, the Dallas Cowboys shouldn't delude themselves into a major yield for Trey Lance.

Real-life NFL affairs will never more resemble fantasy football when quarterbacks are involved.

A young quarterback in the aerial-obsessed modern league is either eureka or passing pyrite. Even the most notorious draft washout will have his share of believers, with many opting to blame either the staff or system for his shortcomings. 

That's where the Dallas Cowboys currently stand with Trey Lance: obtained for relative pennies from San Francisco just before last season's kickoff, Lance carries innumerable levels of upside simply because it hasn't been proven he Isn't capable of assuming the duties of a primary passer thanks to lack of luck (i.e. injuries, the emergence of Brock Purdy). 

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The Lance trade honestly could've gone wrong in a number of different ways for Dallas thanks to the volatile nature of franchise quarterback setups, but Dak Prescott managed to stave off any form of legitimate criticism until the last possible moment (the postseason).

Now Dallas is in a relative no man's land when it comes to Lance's status: the team has offered varying levels of dedication and assurance to Prescott while primary understudy Cooper Rush has done nothing to deny him the title of a capable backup. The best-case scenario is that Dallas dangles Lance's promised potential to teams hunting for a quarterback. A post-Kirk Cousins Minnesota has been a popular choice, while a de facto apprenticeship under an aging franchise case (i.e. LA Rams, NY Jets) would also be intriguing.

But one last musket fire from Lance's draft classmate should stifle any delusions of grandeur the Cowboys are enduring.

The calm before this week's presumed free agency storm offered an intriguing casualty, as the New England Patriots reportedly traded Mac Jones to the Jacksonville Jaguars for a sixth-round pick. Lance and Jones each heard their names called within the first 15 picks of the 2021 draft and the latter is now set to back up the polarizing top choice, Trevor Lawrence, in Duval.

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If that's the yield and fate for Jones, who, to his credit, was able to muster some form of fleeting post-Tom Brady stability in his three Foxborough tours, the Cowboys really can't expect much from the completely unproven Lance.

Jerry Jones' contemporaries on the general manager front have made major moves on the mystery box approach: the aforementioned Jets, for example, somehow swindled a second-round choice from Carolina for a Sam Darnold fresh off the horrors of the Adam Gase era. Arizona made the move from Josh Rosen sweeter by convincing Miami to send over a second-round pick for his services, or lack thereof. But what Mac Jones has gone for should shut down the idea that the Cowboys might be able to leap back into Friday's affairs at the draft. 

On the other hand, the Jones trade should perhaps at least allow the Cowboys to keep Lance around for at least a while longer. Prescott's future remains uncertain (again) and keeping Lance familiar with the system would cut down on the awkwardness in an emergency transfer of power. Next fall's trade deadline should also be an intriguing time for Lance's North Texas prospects and beyond, as any number of injuries across the passing front will probably raise desperation levels. 

At the end of the day, patience isn't a virtue in the NFL but rather a valuable commodity. New England went broke in its own bank on Jones, but Dallas, for better and worse, can afford to spend just a little more on Lance.