- Former NFL defensive coordinators John Pagano and Ray Horton will meet with the Cowboys, per Todd Archer of ESPN.com. Pagano, the longtime Chargers’ DC, spent last season as an assistant head coach (and later, interim DC) for the Raiders, while Horton — formerly the defensive play-caller for the Cardinals, Titans, and Browns, didn’t work in the NFL in 2017. Dallas already has a defensive coordinator in Rod Marinelli, but the Cowboys were reportedly willing to promote Marinelli to assistant head coach in order to keep ex-LBs coach Matt Eberflus.
- While the Cowboys are apparently considering additions to their defensive coaching staff, they’ve made a hire on the offensive side of the ball in new wide receivers coach Sanjay Lal, tweets David Moore of the Dallas Morning News. Lal, 48, originally joined the NFL ranks with the Raiders in 2007, and has since coached wideouts for Oakland, New York, and Buffalo. Former Cowboys wide receiver/current Cowboys scout Miles Austin also reportedly interviewed for the position.
Former Cowboys linebackers coach Matt Eberflus will reportedly become the Colts’ next defensive coordinator under presumptive head coach Josh McDaniels, but Dallas was willing to promote Eberflus to DC in order to retain him, according to Todd Archer of ESPN.com. The Cowboys would have named current defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli assistant head coach, paving the way for Ebeflus to become the club’s new defensive play-caller. But Eberflus “did not want to step on the toes” of Marinelli, per Archer, and therefore decided to head to Indianapolis.
- The Cowboys and Bengals have switched offensive line coaches this offseason. After Cincy hired former Dallas offensive line coach Frank Pollack to the same role, we learned today that the Cowboys have hired the guy who held that post for the Bengals in Paul Alexander, reports Alex Marvez of SiriusXM (Twitter link).
Having fired Frank Pollack last week, the Cowboys are casting a wide net as they search for a coach to lead an offensive line that was considered the NFL’s best as recently as 2016. Dallas has already interviewed former Bengal OL coach Paul Alexander last week, while incumbent Cowboys assistant offensive line coach Marc Colombo is reportedly “in the mix” for the vacancy, according to Todd Archer of ESPN.com. Meanwhile, Dallas had interest in meeting with former Seahawks OL coach Tom Cable before he was hired by the Raiders, but no formal interview was ever arranged, per Archer, who adds the Cowboys also plan to meet with Giants offensive line coach Mike Solari.
- In addition to finding a new offensive line coach, the Cowboys are also looking for a new coach to head up the club’s wide receivers. Former Colts wide receivers coach Sanjay Lal is interviewing to replace Derek Dooley, who was fired last week, as Archer reports. Lal, 48, originally joined the NFL ranks with the Raiders in 2007, and has since coached wideouts for Oakland, New York, and Buffalo. At present, the only other candidate to interview for the Cowboys’ WRs coach job is former Dallas pass-catcher Miles Austin, who is currently a scout for Dallas but has never coached in the NFL.
Ian Rapoport of NFL.com reports (Twitter link) that Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels is expected to become the Colts’ next head coach. McDaniels has reportedly told his potential assistants to wait for him, and Rapoport’s sources believe McDaniels is Indianapolis-bound once New England’s season is over.
Just yesterday, we learned that McDaniels and former Patriots linebacker (and current Texans DC) Mike Vrabel were the finalists for the Colts’ head coaching job. But McDaniels has seemed like the favorite for awhile now, especially given ownership’s desire for something of a splashy hire.
McDaniels compiled an underwhelming 11-17 record during his two-year stint as head coach of the Broncos, but he has more than restored his viability as a head coach since returning to New England. The Patriots’ offense has ranked in the top-10 in points scored during each of his nine years as the Pats’ OC, and McDaniels’ unit put up yet another impressive showing in the team’s divisional round win over Tennessee last night.
McDaniels, of course, has had the privilege of working with Tom Brady during his New England career, and he will inherit another excellent signal-caller in Andrew Luck should he take the Colts’ job. Luck’s health, though, will continue to be a major topic of discussion this offseason, and it was rumored that his shoulder injury may scare off top head coaching candidates. Luckily for Indianapolis, that does not appear to be the case.
As we learned several days ago, Cowboys linebackers coach Matt Eberflus — who is currently a free agent — is McDaniels’ top choice for defensive coordinator, per Rapoport (via Twitter).
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.
- Cowboys running backs coach Gary Brown is expected to return to the team in 2018, sources tell Todd Archer of ESPN.com. It was previously reported that while Dallas had wanted to retain him, he had also drawn interest from the Raiders and Texans.
- Gary Brown‘s become a coveted assistant over the past two weeks. The Cowboys want to retain him, and the Raiders were interested prior to hiring their next RBs instructor as well. The Texans are now in the mix, with Clarence Hill of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reporting Brown has offers to coach in Houston and Dallas. Brown is a coaching free agent; he led the Cowboys’ RBs from 2013-17. The Texans fired running backs coach Charles London last week.
- Miles Austin interviewed for the Cowboys’ wide receivers coach position, Todd Archer of ESPN.com reports. The Cowboys saw previous WRs coach Derek Dooley join Missouri’s coaching staff as OC. Austin’s worked in Dallas’ scouting department the past two seasons since retiring.
- The Bengals hired former Cowboys offensive line coach Frank Pollack, Hill reports. Pollack coached Dallas’ O-line from 2015-17. He’ll replace Paul Alexander, whom the Bengals fired after more than two decades on staff. Alexander could make this a swap, with Hill reporting he interviewed Thursday to become Cowboys offensive line coach.
- Cowboys tight ends coach Steve Loney is retiring, Hill reports. The 65-year-old assistant worked with five NFL teams and served as OC for Iowa State and Minnesota during the late 1990s and early ’00s.
On the cusp of free agency, wide receiver Brice Butler says he’ll go elsewhere unless he’s given a bigger role with the Cowboys. In interviews with FS1’s “Undisputed” and “The Herd,” Butler made his position crystal clear (transcription via the Dallas Morning News).
“With Dallas, the situation has to be right for me to go back. I have to be a starter. If I’m not starting, I’m not going back,” Butler said.
The 27-year-old (28 later this month) also opined that he could have been more productive that teammate Dez Bryant had he been given the same number of targets. Butler finished out with just 15 catches for 317 yards and three touchdowns versus Bryant’s 69 catches for 838 yards and six TDs, so it’s a bold claim on his part.
“100 percent,” said Butler when asked if he could have topped Bryant’s stat line with an equal number of opportunities. “Because I’m ready. It’s my time, I’ve been there for three years. I feel like me and Dak [Prescott] have a really good relationship. We work on routes. There’s times that we might not have completed a square-out throw in practice, and we’re taking that time out in practice to actually work on it. So I think that’s why when you saw us in the game, he tried to come to me, and most of the times we produced.“
It remains to be seen whether Butler’s bravado will be appreciated by Jerry Jones & Co. Butler is scheduled to hit the open market in March after the conclusion of his one-year $1.1MM deal.
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.
- Offensive line coach Frank Pollack has been fired by the Cowboys, per Marvez (Twitter links). It’s a stunning move in some regard, especially since the Dallas offensive line was viewed as an especially dominant unit as recently as 2016. But injuries and ineffective play led to the club’s front five struggling last season, leading to Pollard’s dismissal. Elsewhere in Dallas, assistant special teams coach Keith O’Quinn is expected to be reassigned, either as the Cowboys’ primary ST coach or as the club’s tight ends coach, per Marvez.
Here are the latest reserve/futures contract signings from around the NFL. These deals will go into effect on the first day of the 2018 league year, with players joining their respective clubs’ offseason 90-man rosters:
- CB Jonathon Mincy
Green Bay Packers
New York Giants
- LB Thurston Armbrister
- OL Laurence Gibson
- RB Jalen Simmons
New York Jets