Jerry Jones

Latest On Cowboys HC Mike McCarthy’s Job Status

Mike McCarthy‘s second season in Dallas could be his last unless his team is able to put together a playoff run. Adam H. Beasley of ProFootballNetwork.com reports that McCarthy’s Cowboys may need to make it to the NFC Championship Game if the head coach wants to keep his job.

As Beasley explains, Jerry Jones will soon be 79, and the owner is unwilling to show as much patience as he did with former head coach Jason Garrett. The Cowboys’ 6-10 record in 2020 left a lot to be desired, and while that record was obviously impacted by Dak Prescott‘s injury, another disappointing campaign could spell the end of McCarthy’s tenure in Dallas. If the Cowboys do underachieve, Jones may be ready to start over with a new head coach as he pursues that elusive championship.

Further, Beasley notes that some within the organization are “a bit dubious” about McCarthy’s coaching staff hires. The head coach has brought in four former Packers staffers (Joe Philbin, Joe Whitt Jr., Jeff Blasko, and Scott McCurley) since he’s been in Dallas, and the writer implies that some within the organization have been less than thrilled with the additions.

McCarthy has already slightly revamped his coaching staff in anticipation of the 2021 season. This past offseason, the team let go of defensive coordinator Mike Nolan and replaced him with former Falcons head coach Dan Quinn. McCarthy will surely be hoping that the coaching change (coupled with Prescott’s return and the team’s offseason acquisitions) will change the team’s fortunes…and help him keep his job.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Extra Points: Coaches, GMs, Schedule, OTAs

After the NFL expanded the Rooney Rule this offseason, it has a “ready list” of minority candidates for head coaching jobs, offensive and defensive coordinator positions and GM candidates, according to Pro Football Talk’s Mike Florio. Beyond some of the big names — Eric Bieniemy, Marvin Lewis, Todd Bowles, Leslie Frazier among them — coaches like Clemson OC Tony Elliott, Penn State HC James Franklin and Michigan State HC Mel Tucker appear on the HC portion of the list. On the GM side, some first-time candidates include Bills pro scouting director Malik Boyd, Raiders pro scouting director Dwayne Joseph, Ravens exec Vincent Newsome and Chargers player personnel director JoJo Wooden. Former Cardinals safety Adrian Wilson — now the franchise’s pro scouting director — also appears on the GM portion of the list. The Rooney Rule now mandates teams interview two minority HC candidates and expanded the rule to include coordinator positions. Franchises must also open their senior-level executive jobs to minority and female candidates.

Here is the latest from around the league:

  • Normal NFL offseasons feature several weeks’ worth of OTAs preceding a June minicamp, but the NFLPA would like a schedule that looks closer to this year’s virtual offseason. Union executive director DeMaurice Smith said “there is absolutely no reason” for the NFL to return to full-scale OTAs, per Sports Business Daily’s Ben Fischer (subscription required). Having seen no decline in performance after this atypical offseason, union president J.C. Tretter agrees with Smith. This would be a stretch for coaching staffs, which have steadily seen their time with players cut back. The past two CBA agreements have significantly limited offseason and padded training camp workouts, and 2020’s COVID-19-altered offseason created steeper acclimation challenges for young players.
  • The NFL has agreed to a formula for its 17th regular-season game, making it increasingly likely this season will be the last one of the 16-game era. In what will be the first shift to the league’s scheduling setup since 2002, the 17-game schedule will feature a fifth interconference game. The schedule will pit an AFC division winner against an NFC division winner, and on down the line within each division, but the extra interconference game will not feature two teams who played the previous year, Albert Breer of SI.com notes. In the event the NFL moves to the 17-game season in 2021, the Chiefs and Buccaneers could not play again next season; the earliest such a regular-season rematch would occur would be 2022.
  • Roger Goodell may well be on board with shortening the preseason slate from four games to two. The commissioner “seemed in favor” of halving the preseason schedule at last week’s owners meetings, according to ESPN.com’s Seth Wickersham, but some high-profile owners are not. Jerry Jones, Robert Kraft, John Mara and Art Rooney II dismissed the idea of going from three preseason games — the new number as of the 2020 CBA — to two, according to ESPN. No vote occurred on the matter, though Goodell discussing the idea publicly points to it remaining an issue going forward.

Jerry Jones: Cowboys Won’t Trade Aldon Smith

Aldon Smith isn’t going anywhere, Cowboys owner Jerry Jones says (Twitter link via Calvin Watkins of the Dallas News). Jones, while confirming reports of the Seahawks’ inquiry, stressed that he’s not interested in moving the defensive lineman. 

Smith has been one of the few bright spots on Dallas’ D, leading the way with four sacks. His one-year, $2MM deal has proven to be a tremendous value, and the Cowboys will be happy to double that amount if Smith achieves the necessary sack incentives. If anything, it sounds like the Cowboys will be looking to extend their deal with the former All-Pro.

The Cowboys have already addressed the D-Line with two trades this week, bringing Texans nose tackle Eli Ankou to Dallas and shipping out defensive end Everson Griffen. They won’t go for a hat trick by moving Smith before today’s deadline, nor do they anticipate making any more deals. With that said, Jones won’t rule out the possibility of making a trade before 4pm ET/3pm CT.

At 2-6, some have wondered if the Cowboys should seize the opportunity to rebuild. Or, at least, retool their roster. Then again, thanks to the state of the NFC East, the Cowboys are not totally out of playoff contention.

Longest-Tenured GMs In The NFL

When we ran down the longest-tenured head coaches in the NFL, we found that less than half of the league’s current coaches have been in their positions for more than three years. That’s not quite the case with general managers, but there have been plenty of changes in recent years.

A handful of general managers have gotten to take their coats off and stay for a long while. Among coaches, Bill Belichick had joined his team prior to 2003. Here, you’ll see that five GMs have been with their teams since before ’03 (Belichick, of course, is also on this list). Two of those five – Jerry Jones and Mike Brown – are outliers, since they’re team owners and serve as de facto GMs. But the Patriots, Steelers, and Saints, have all had the same general managers making their roster decisions for well over a decade.

Here’s the complete list of the NFL’s longest-tenured GMs, along with the date they took over the job:

  1. Jerry Jones (Dallas Cowboys): April 18, 1989[1]
  2. Mike Brown (Cincinnati Bengals): August 5, 1991[2]
  3. Bill Belichick (New England Patriots): January 27, 2000[3]
  4. Kevin Colbert (Pittsburgh Steelers): February 18, 2000[4]
  5. Mickey Loomis (New Orleans Saints): May 14, 2002
  6. Rick Spielman (Minnesota Vikings): May 30, 2006[5]
  7. Thomas Dimitroff (Atlanta Falcons): January 13, 2008
  8. John Schneider (Seattle Seahawks): January 19, 2010[6]
  9. Howie Roseman (Philadelphia Eagles): January 29, 2010
  10. John Elway (Denver Broncos): January 5, 2011[7]
  11. Les Snead (St. Louis Rams): February 10, 2012
  12. David Caldwell (Jacksonville Jaguars): January 8, 2013
  13. Steve Keim (Arizona Cardinals): January 8, 2013
  14. Tom Telesco (San Diego Chargers): January 9, 2013
  15. Jason Licht (Tampa Bay Buccaneers): January 21, 2014
  16. Ryan Pace (Chicago Bears): January 8, 2015
  17. Chris Grier (Miami Dolphins): January 4, 2016
  18. Bob Quinn (Detroit Lions): January 8, 2016
  19. Jon Robinson (Tennessee Titans): January 14, 2016
  20. John Lynch (San Francisco 49ers): January 29, 2017
  21. Chris Ballard (Indianapolis Colts): January 30, 2017
  22. Brandon Beane (Buffalo Bills): May 9, 2017
  23. Brett Veach (Kansas City Chiefs): July 11, 2017
  24. Marty Hurney (Carolina Panthers): July 19, 2017
  25. Dave Gettleman (New York Giants): December 28, 2017
  26. Brian Gutekunst (Green Bay Packers): January 7, 2018
  27. Mike Mayock (Oakland Raiders): December 31, 2018
  28. Joe Douglas (New York Jets): June 7, 2019
  29. Eric DeCosta (Baltimore Ravens): January 7, 2019[8]
  30. Ron Rivera (Washington Redskins): January 1, 2020[9]
  31. Andrew Berry (Cleveland Browns): January 27, 2020
  32. Bill O’Brien (Houston Texans): January 28, 2020

Footnotes:

  1. Jones has been the Cowboys’ de facto general manager since former GM Tex Schramm resigned in April 1989.
  2. Brown has been the Bengals’ de facto GM since taking over as the team’s owner in August 1991.
  3. Belichick has been the Patriots’ de facto GM since shortly after being hired as the team’s head coach in January 2000.
  4. Colbert was initially hired as the team’s director of football operations and received the newly-created general manager title in 2011.
  5. Spielman was initially hired as the team’s VP of player personnel and received the GM title in 2012.
  6. While Schneider holds the title of GM, head coach Pete Carroll has the final say on roster moves for the Seahawks.
  7. Elway was initially hired as the team’s executive VP of football operations and received the GM title in 2014.
  8. In 2018, the Ravens announced that DeCosta would replace Ozzie Newsome as GM for Ozzie Newsome after the conclusion of the season. The Ravens’ ’18 season ended with their Wild Card loss to the Chargers on 1/6/19.
  9. Technically, the Redskins do not have a GM, as of this writing. Rivera is, effectively, their GM, working in tandem with Vice President of Player Personnel Kyle Smith. Smith may receive the GM title in the near future.

Eagles Tried To Trade Up For CeeDee Lamb

In one of Thursday night’s biggest surprises, the Cowboys landed wide receiver CeeDee Lamb at No. 17. The Eagles tried to catch him as he fell by trading up to the Falcons No. 16 pick, Ed Werder of ESPN.com (on Twitter) hears, but they were unable to get a deal done.

Few expected the Cowboys to go WR in the first round, but Jerry Jones took advantage of the opportunity that fell into his lap. And, some say, he came away with the best receiver in a class chock full of exceptional talent. Meanwhile, the Eagles stood pat at No. 21 and nabbed Jalen Reagor, who offers phenomenal speed backed by his sub-4.3-second 40-yard-dash time.

Most prognosticators and insiders believed that Lamb would not be available beyond the Raiders’ No. 12 pick. The Jets, at No. 11, were also a prime landing spot for the 2019 consensus All-American. When Gang Green opted for the braun of Mekhi Becton and the Raiders chose Alabama speedster Henry Ruggs instead, Lamb was left to wait nervously in his living room.

It’s not clear what the Eagles were offering the Falcons to slide back five spots, but it wasn’t enough for them to risk losing out on A.J. Terrell. Eagles fans may be a little extra grumpy about the Cowboys’ big score after learning of the trade attempt, but the Birds can’t be too mad about “settling” for the blazing speed of Reagor.

Lamb finished last season with 62 catches for 1,327 yards and 14 touchdowns. That was Lamb’s second consecutive season with at least 1,000 yards and 10+ scores.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Jerry Jones, Mike McCarthy On Aldon Smith

Cowboys owner Jerry Jones and head coach Mike McCarthy spoke about new acquisition Aldon Smith today, and it’s no surprise to hear that both men are optimistic about where Smith is in his bid to be reinstated by the league.

Dallas, of course, shocked the football world when it agreed to sign Smith earlier this month. Though the move seemed to come from out of left field, we soon learned that Smith — who was in the process of applying for reinstatement in March — has been sober for nine months and that the Broncos were also interested in his services. The new CBA does not make reinstatement any easier for indefinitely suspended players like Smith, but Jones and McCarthy are clearly hopeful that the 30-year-old will be cleared to return in short order.

“I would say first-hand that I know that [Smith] is very diligent in his work to do the things the NFL looks at to reinstate,” Jones said (via Charean Williams of Pro Football Talk). “I wouldn’t dare get into where the league is and how they will go about this process … [but] as a league, we really are bent toward the medical aspect of many of these problems or many of these things that have been in consideration when a player has to have some type of suspension. We’ve made it more medically oriented to where you can have good grades from doctors, and that weighs into being a player in the NFL.”

McCarthy, who first met Smith in December, talks about his initial impressions of the former 49ers star. “I was very impressed with everything that he’s done and his path,” McCarthy said. “I’ve always admired him from afar. Very impressive young man, and I’m looking forward to working with him.”

Smith’s contract represents a low-risk, high-reward gambit for the Cowboys. Though he has not played in an NFL game since the 2015 campaign, he recorded an incredible 42 sacks in his first 43 games in the league, and if he can earn reinstatement and work himself into game shape by the start of the regular season, he could become a key part of Dallas’ pass rush.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Cowboys Notes: Jerry, Dez, Witten

This is not exactly surprising given that he’ll turn 78 in October, but Cowboys owner Jerry Jones is not planning to remain at the helm beyond the expiration of the next CBA, as Jon Machota of The Athletic tweets. Of course, the proposed CBA that will soon be voted on by the league’s workforce is another 10-year agreement, so it makes sense that Jones, who has owned the club since 1989, would be prepared to step down around the time the players and owners sit down again in another decade or so.

However, he is adamant that the proposed CBA is the right move for the league and should be ratified by the players.

Now for more from Dallas:

  • Former star wideout Dez Bryant hasn’t played since 2017, but he wants to continue his NFL career and recently expressed his desire to rejoin the Cowboys. For what it’s worth, Jones said he hasn’t ruled it out, as Clarence Hill Jr. of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram tweets. Jones even revealed a little more than we may have liked, saying he has considered the matter while in the shower.
  • Jones would also like tight end Jason Witten to return to the team, as Hill notes (Twitter link). However, it sounds like Jones has a reduced role in mind for Witten, and it remains to be seen whether Witten — who is open to signing elsewhere — will be receptive to that.
  • Likewise, Jones wants to retain pass-rusher Robert Quinn (Twitter link via Hill). The last we heard, the Cowboys had not discussed a new contract with Quinn — understandable, as the club has bigger fish to fry at the moment — but Quinn posted 11.5 sacks in a resurgent 2019 campaign, and Jones hopes there is a way he can keep him in Dallas.
  • Another member of the Cowboys’ front seven, Tyrone Crawford, is under contract through 2020, but the Cowboys could save $6.9MM by cutting him. That could be tempting, given that Crawford played in just four games in 2019 and had surgery on both of his hips. However, the 30-year-old said he could return to the field this spring, and Jones expects him to be on the roster, though he is definitely a restructure candidate (Twitter link via Michael Gehlken of the Dallas Morning News).
  • Cowboys DE Michael Bennett signed a new contract with the Cowboys after Dallas acquired him from the Patriots in October that allows him to hit free agency this year. As such, his comments to ESPN’s Josina Anderson indicating that he wants to play in 2020 are not surprising (Twitter link). It sounds as though Bennett, 34, wants to hook on with a contender, and there should be a market for his services.

Cowboys Officially Part With Jason Garrett

The Cowboys have officially announced that Jason Garrett will not return as the team’s head coach next season. While the news does not come as a surprise, the team had yet to make an official announcement. The announcement confirms an earlier report from Jay Glazer of Fox Sports that Dallas had informed Garrett of the decision.

Garrett’s status had been under question for much of the season and when the Cowboys were officially eliminated from the playoffs his fate seemed sealed. While nothing was officially announced, Dallas began interviewing other head coaching candidates, including former Bengals head coach Marvin Lewis and former Packers head coach Mike McCarthy earlier this week.

The team’s statement refuses to call the move a firing, but rather says “the team would not seek a new agreement [with Garrett].” Garrett has long been held by Cowboys owner and general manager Jerry Jones in high regard dating back to his days as a backup quarterback, but his inability to take Dallas deep into the playoffs forced Jones to make a move. In the end, Garrett finished his 10-year tenure as Cowboys head coach with an 85-67 regular season record and 2-3 postseason record.

 

Latest On Jason Garrett, Cowboys

If Jason Garrett wants to keep his job, he’ll have to lead the Cowboys to the NFC Championship Game. NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport tweets that Dallas will have to make the conference championship to prevent his firing.

Specifically, Jerry Jones wants the Cowboys to win the division and then make it further in the playoffs than they did last year. That means Dallas has to continue winning, especially against the Eagles tomorrow. That also means Dallas has to get past the divisional round, as the Cowboys lost to the Rams in that round during last year’s playoffs.

There were rumblings earlier this year that Garrett could be on the hot seat, but the organization made it clear that they wouldn’t make a coaching change this season. The Cowboys currently sit at an underwhelming 7-7, but that’s good enough for them to sit tied for first (with Philly) for the top spot in the NFC East. Garrett took over the head coach position midway through the 2010 season, and he’s led Dallas to an 84-66 record. The Cowboys only have three playoff appearances during the coach’s stint.

We heard earlier this month that the Cowboys would have interest in Oklahoma head coach Lincoln Riley if they elect to move on from Garrett. Owner Jerry Jones and his family already have a relationship with Riley stemming from Riley’s recruitment of Jones’ grandson, John Stephen Jones, who ultimately elected to play his collegiate ball at Arkansas.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Cowboys Notes: Beasley, Garrett, Maher

Former Cowboys receiver Cole Beasley had a bumpy tenure with the team. Beasley was a fan favorite in Dallas from 2012-2018, but became frustrated with the team when his role did not expand to the degree he thought it should. After signing with the Bills this offseason, Beasley got to exert his revenge in Buffalo’s 26-15 victory in Dallas on Thursday.

In the postgame celebration of Buffalo’s Thanksgiving day victory, Beasley told reporters that he felt “disrespected” in Dallas and felt that they disrespected him again in his return, according to Angel Franco of The Dallas Morning News. Beasley caught six passes for 110 receiving yards and a touchdown against his former team.

Here’s some more Cowboys notes:

  • Cowboys owner and general manager Jerry Jones ripped his coaching staff after last week’s loss to the Patriots. After an even more disappointing loss to Buffalo on Thursday, all eyes were on the maverick owner to see if he would once again criticize his coaching staff. While Jones was not full of praise, he tried to calm the flames around the team by saying he will not make any coaching moves during the season, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL.com. This does not remove the pressure on head coach Jason Garrett to make a deep playoff run, but should make it easier to focus on the upcoming schedule.
  • Cowboys placekicker Brett Maher is in the midst of a massive sophomore slump. After an impressive rookie season that included 6 makes on 7 attempts from at least 50 yards, the Nebraska product has made just 67.9% of his field goal attempts in 2019. While special teams has been a huge problem for the Cowboys, they will not be making a change at kicker, according to Jon Machota of The Athletic. Maher has yet to miss an extra point on the season and remains 14 of 16 inside 40 yards, but will surely hope to improve his accuracy from deeper range during the rest of the season.