Mike McCarthy

Cowboys Not Expected To Extend HC Mike McCarthy

Mike McCarthy will be sticking around Dallas for the 2024 season, but he’ll do so on an expiring deal. According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, the Cowboys are not expected to extend McCarthy before the start of the 2024 campaign. The Cowboys head coach is heading into the final year of his contract.

[RELATED: Cowboys To Retain HC Mike McCarthy For 2024 Season]

Following another frustrating playoff exit, there were many pundits who speculated that McCarthy would be the scapegoat. Instead, owner Jerry Jones gave his head coach a vote of confidence and definitively stated that McCarthy would be back with the Cowboys in 2024. An extension would have obviously been a much louder affirmation, and while McCarthy will temporarily keep his job, he’ll head into the 2024 season with lame-duck status.

While many head coaches and front offices try to avoid these lame-duck situations, Schefter notes that Jones is thinking differently. The owner believes McCarthy will be “challenged in a different way” with an expiring deal, and he’s hoping the pressure will “bring out the best” in his head coach.

This also isn’t an unprecedented move by the Cowboys organization. Schefter points out that Jones twice had McCarthy’s predecessor, Jason Garrett, coach on the final year of his contract. The first time around, the Cowboys went 12-4 and earned Garrett a new five-year deal. Following the second instance, the Cowboys went 8-8 and Garrett wasn’t re-signed, leading to McCarthy’s hiring.

While McCarthy has made it clear that his contract status won’t be a distraction, sources told Schefter that it could have an impact on the rest of his staff. Since McCarthy’s future in Dallas is uncertain, the head coach may have a tough time filling openings on his staff. Further, some sources questioned how Cowboys players will react to McCarthy’s status if the Cowboys go through a rough stretch in 2024.

The Cowboys have finished with 12 wins in each of the past three seasons, but they only have a single playoff win over that span. The Cowboys haven’t advanced past the divisional round of the playoffs since the last time they won the Super Bowl in 1995.

Cowboys To Retain HC Mike McCarthy For 2024 Season

The Cowboys’ impressive 2023 regular season ended unceremoniously in an all too familiar fashion when the team lost at home to the Packers much earlier into the playoffs than expected. Despite many fans and pundits claiming they’ve seen enough of head coach Mike McCarthy in Dallas, Adam Schefter of ESPN reports that the fourth-year Cowboys coach will return for the 2024 season.

The Cowboys have not advanced past the divisional round of the playoffs since the last time they won the Super Bowl in 1995. Since then, they have seen early exits from the playoffs in 13 seasons, and frustratingly enough, their season has been ended by the Packers in heartbreaking fashion three times in the last nine years.

McCarthy has a long history of coaching winning football as a head coach. Before his time in Dallas, McCarthy spent 13 years as the head coach in Green Bay, amassing a 125-77-2 regular season record. Under McCarthy, the Packers made the playoffs nine times, including eight straight years from 2009-16. While they only won a single Super Bowl in that time, McCarthy still left Green Bay with a winning record in the playoffs (10-8) and advanced to the NFC championship game four times.

After the 28 years of failing to make it to the league’s semifinal game, Dallas invited McCarthy with open arms in 2020. He replaced Jason Garrett, who had been in place with the Cowboys for 10 years, making him the second-longest tenured head coach in Dallas history behind Tom Landry. Garrett went 85-67 during his time and led the team to the playoffs three times, all three times losing in the divisional round, two of those times to the Packers.

Since McCarthy has taken over, the Cowboys have been nothing if not consistent. After a getting-to-know-you introductory season that saw the team go 6-10, Dallas has gone 12-5 in each season since, winning the NFC East in two of those years. Unfortunately, McCarthy’s playoff success from Green Bay hasn’t quite translated. Under McCarthy, the Cowboys have only gone 1-3 in three playoff appearances, twice being the dreaded one-and-done team.

In a statement, team owner/president/general manager/supreme ruler Jerry Jones touted McCarthy’s .627 winning percentage as the Cowboys’ head coach, the highest percentage for a head coach in Dallas’ storied history. Jones claimed that the team will “dedicated (themselves), in partnership with (McCarthy)” to translate his regular season success into postseason victories, per Tom Pelissero of NFL Network.

Jones historically has a pretty long fuse with head coaches. According to Albert Breer of Sports Illustrated, during Jones’ 35 years of ownership, only two coaches failed to make it through four years on the job. That being said, he didn’t fire Garrett before hiring McCarthy; he simply allowed Garrett’s contract to expire and made the decision not to extend him for more time.

With that in mind, McCarthy is headed into the final year of his contract in Dallas. It wouldn’t be out of Jones’ pattern of behavior to use 2024 as a prove-it year for McCarthy. Jones pronounced his dedication to McCarthy in today’s statement, but an extension within the next year would be a much louder statement. Until we see a new contract for McCarthy or a postseason with multiple wins, McCarthy’s seat in Dallas is going to continue feeling hot.

Latest On Cowboys HC Mike McCarthy, DC Dan Quinn

Ahead of their regular season finale, the Cowboys have already clinched a playoff spot but there is still a division title up for grabs. The team’s ability to secure the NFC’s No. 2 seed and, of course, their showing in the postseason, could have major implications on the sidelines.

Head coach Mike McCarthy has faced an uncertain future during much of a relatively succesful run in Dallas. The former Super Bowl winner guided the team to consecutive 12-5 seasons over the past two years (a mark which would be replicated again with a win today over the Commanders). However, the franchise’s drought with respect to deep playoff runs has continued.

In spite of that, recent reports (along with an offseason vote of confidence from owner Jerry Jones) have pointed to McCarthy being safe for next year. A strong showing both today and in the first two rounds of the playoffs would certainly help his job security, as noted by ESPN’s Adam Schefter. Schefter does add, however, that personnel around the league and within the Cowboys’ organization feel McCarthy’s future could be significantly tied to today’s result.

A win over the reeling Commanders would clinch the NFC East for the Cowboys, but a loss would open the door to the Eagles claiming the division title. The latter scenario would see Dallas go on the road in the postseason, something which would be particularly signficant given the drastic difference in performance the team has displayed compared to its home contests. Dallas came up short in Washington during last year’s season finale, and McCarthy and Co. will be aiming to avoid a repeat of that situation.

One year remains on McCarthy’s contract, so an extension this offseason would come as little surprise. The Cowboys have continued to post strong numbers on offense after the departure of OC Kellen Moore and McCarthy taking over play-calling duties on that side of the ball. The team has also been effective in many defensive categories, owing in large part to the job done by third-year defensive coordinator Dan Quinn.

The latter has kept himself on the head coaching radar once again this season, as has been the case in the past two years. Quinn withdrew from HC consideration in both cases, but it remains to be seen if that will happen again in the near future. David Moore of the Dallas Morning News notes that Quinn is believed to be “more receptive to the right offer” in the upcoming hiring cycle than those of years past.

The 53-year-old was last a head coach with the Falcons from 2015-20, a stretch which included a Super Bowl appearance. Quinn has rebuilt his value as one of the game’s top defensive minds during his time in Dallas, though, and he will no doubt be a hot commodity if he entertains outside offers. Schefter adds the Cowboys want to keep Quinn, but their ability to do so while also retaining McCarthy would be a key storyline to follow. In any case, plenty will be at stake today and in the immediate future for Dallas’ coaching staff.

Latest On Mike McCarthy’s Job Status

There’s been some speculation that Cowboys coach Mike McCarthy’s job status could be tied to his team’s playoff performance. However, barring some unexpected change, it’s sounding like McCarthy will be safe regardless of the postseason. As ESPN’s Dan Graziano passes along, “minds would likely have to be changed” if the Cowboys fire McCarthy following a disappointing playoff showing.

Graziano notes that ownership has been impressed by McCarthy’s ability to right the ship in Dallas, especially from an offensive perspective. He’s also kept his squad “even-keeled all season,” and ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler adds that the coach has “built a lot of goodwill” with the organization.

Of course, Graziano warns that, say, a humiliating first-round loss in Tampa Bay could obviously change things. But even then, the reporter in unconvinced that the organization would move on from their coach.

McCarthy took over for Jason Garrett in 2020. Thanks mostly to instability at quarterback, the Cowboys finished only 6-10 during McCarthy’s first season at the helm. Dallas has fared a whole lot better over the past two-plus seasons, going 12-5 in both 2021 and 2022.

However, the Cowboys have only won a single playoff game between those two campaigns, losing twice to the 49ers. As a result, there was plenty of speculation heading into the season that McCarthy could be the scapegoat following another playoff dud.

The Cowboys are eyeing a similar regular-season performance in 2023, going 10-5 through their first 15 games. This followed an offseason where McCarthy parted ways with offensive coordinator Kellen Moore and took on play-calling duties. McCarthy is heading into lame duck status in 2024, so the Cowboys will have to make an offseason decision on the head coach one way or the other.

For what it’s worth, Jerry Jones unequivocally stated last year that the outcome of the postseason would not influence his decision on the head coach. We’ll see if the owner makes that kind of declaration in 2023.

Cowboys HC Mike McCarthy In Line For Extension

Cowboys head coach Mike McCarthy is under contract through 2024, and it stands to reason that the team would not want him to go into the 2024 campaign as a lame duck. To that end, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com says McCarthy is in line for an extension in the offseason.

When asked about the possibility of such an extension at last week’s league meetings, owner Jerry Jones said, “[t]hat’ll have a course that seeks its own time frame. I don’t do anything of that sort until the season is over.”

That hardly sounds like a guarantee that a new deal will be consummated in the coming months, but it is nonetheless difficult to imagine any other outcome. McCarthy bet on himself to a degree by parting ways with former offensive coordinator Kellen Moore this past offseason and taking over play-calling responsibilities, and that decision could not have gone much better for him. Under McCarthy’s watch, quarterback Dak Prescott is enjoying the finest season of his career and is firmly in the MVP discussion — thereby setting himself up for a lucrative extension of his own — and the Cowboys presently rank first in scoring offense, fourth in total offense, and sixth in offensive DVOA.

As Rapoport observes, McCarthy’s job security is always a talking point in Dallas, and merely qualifying for the playoffs has not compelled Jones to retain a head coach in the past. Before last season’s playoffs got underway, however, Jones unequivocally stated that the outcome of the postseason contests would not influence his decision with respect to McCarthy, and while the Cowboys were ousted by the 49ers for the second consecutive year, there were no serious rumblings that McCarthy’s job was in jeopardy.

Last month, Peter King of NBC Sports suggested that Jones — who was long rumored to covet Sean Payton for Dallas’ HC post — might make a run at current Patriots head coach Bill Belichick if Belichick should, as expected, become available in the offseason. King said that in order for Belichick or any other candidate to become a serious consideration for Jones, the Cowboys would have to lose the NFC East, have a questionable showing or two down the stretch of the regular season, and go winless in the playoffs.

Since King’s piece was published, the Cowboys have rattled off four straight victories to bring their current win streak to five and their record to 10-3. That stretch includes a 33-13 thumping of the division-rival Eagles last week, and while Philadelphia (also 10-3) has the easier schedule over the last four games of the season, Dallas currently has momentum on its side.

Over his first three-plus seasons with the Cowboys, McCarthy has compiled a 40-23 regular season record and a 1-2 mark in the playoffs. Of course, he spent the better part of 13 seasons as the Packers’ head coach, capturing a Lombardi Trophy during his tenure in Green Bay.

NFC Coaching Notes: Phillips, McCarthy, Rumph

Vikings offensive coordinator Wes Phillips was arrested Friday night and charged with misdemeanor operation of a vehicle while under the influence of alcohol, ESPN’s Kevin Seifert notes.

Phillips’ blood alcohol content was tested after he was stopped on I-394 at roughly 9:45pm, per the Minnesota State Patrol. His BAC was 0.10, putting it above the legal limit (0.08) for the state of Minnesota. Phillips was booked later that night and released on a $300 bond a few hours later. He has a court appearance scheduled for December 21, and for the time being, he is on track to continue his team duties.

“Wes immediately notified the team following his arrest last night,” a Vikings statement reads. “This morning we contacted the NFL, and after internal discussion, made the decision Wes will travel with the team to Las Vegas this afternoon. We will continue to gather information regarding the incident and have further comment at the appropriate time.”

Phillips is in his second season as Minnesota’s OC. The former Rams staffer followed head coach Kevin O’Connell to the Vikings in his first coordinator opportunity. The team ranked top 10 in total and scoring offense last year, though it has taken a step back in both categories in 2023. Improvement could be coming soon with wideout Justin Jefferson set to return on Sunday, however.

Here are some other coaching notes out of the NFC:

  • Cowboys head coach Mike McCarthy had surgery for acute appendicitis earlier this week, threatening to keep him sidelined for Dallas’ upcoming divisional clash against the Eagles. It was announced at the time he intended to coach as usual, though, and that will indeed be the case. Owner Jerry Jones confirmed (via ESPN’s Todd Archer) McCarthy and Co. will be “business as usual” for tomorrow’s crucial matchup of NFC contenders.
  • Returning to Minnesota, Vikings D-line coach Chris Rumph has departed the team to take a college position. Clemson announced this week Rumph has joined the team’s staff under the title of assistant head coach/defensive ends. The 51-year-old took a leave of absence from the Vikings in October, and he will now return to the Tigers after coaching with them from 2006-10. Vikings assistant defensive line coach Pat Hill has filled in for Rumph during his absence, along with assistant head coach Mike Pettine and defensive coordinator Brian Flores, Seifert notes. That arrangement will likely continue for the rest of the season with Rumph’s future now clear.

NFC East Notes: Eagles, Leonard, Cowboys, Giants, Commanders, Del Rio

Shaquille Leonard‘s free agency decision brought additional intrigue due to its NFC East-only nature, and Jerry Jones said during an interview with 105.3 The Fan (h/t The Athletic’s Jon Machota) the chase did not come down to money. The Colts still owe Leonard $6.1MM guaranteed for the rest of this year. The sixth-year linebacker will collect $416K in prorated base salary from the Eagles, Field Yates of ESPN.com tweets. That checks in above the veteran minimum, and Yates adds the Eagles included a $100K incentive and $17K per game in roster bonuses.

Leonard played 2 1/2 seasons on a five-year, $98.5MM accord — one that topped the ILB market until the Ravens’ Roquan Smith deal earlier this year — but saw two 2022 back surgeries impact his career. Visiting both the Cowboys and Eagles (ahead of the NFC East powers’ rematch Sunday), Leonard said (via AllPhly.com’s Zach Berman) his bond with Nick Sirianni played a key role in the Eagles choice. Sirianni was the Colts’ OC from 2018-20, Leonard’s first three NFL seasons (all of which resulted in All-Pro honors). He will attempt to recapture that form ahead of another free agency run in 2024.

Here is the latest from the NFC East:

Is Bill Belichick To Dallas A Real Possibility?

We’ve written quite a bit lately on the struggles of the Patriots and the possibility of the franchise and head coach Bill Belichick parting ways. We’ve even explored quite a few options to take up the reigns in New England, should that change take place. But what about the future for Belichick?

In the lengthy FMIA published by Peter King of NBC Sports on a weekly basis, King floated a couple of ideas of where Belichick may land. The first option, King throws into the ring is Dallas. It may seem difficult to picture the Cowboys letting go of current head coach Mike McCarthy as they currently sit at 8-3, tied for the second-best record in the NFL and the fifth seed in the NFC, but King lays down a scenario in which he could see a fed up Jerry Jones move on to new leadership.

King thinks that the Cowboys have to lose their division, have a questionable showing or two down the stretch of the regular season, and go winless in the playoffs. They’re currently two games back of the division-leading Eagles with one head-to-head loss and a home matchup remaining against their division-rival, so that one’s not unlikely, though still up in the air.

As for the likelihood of the questionable showings, the Cowboys already have a loss to the Kyler Murray-less Cardinals and are 0-2 against teams with a winning record. The remainder of their schedule sees them encounter matchups with the Seahawks (6-5), Eagles, (9-1), Bills (6-5), Dolphins (8-3), and Lions (8-3). There are plenty of opportunities down the stretch for the Cowboys to lay an egg or two against a good team.

Finally, the Cowboys are no strangers to playoff heartbreak. In the past two seasons, they’ve ended the regular season 12-5 but have gone a combined 1-2 in the playoffs of those years. Combine that with the fact that Dallas has failed to make it out of the Divisional round of the playoffs every year since they won the Super Bowl in 1995, and it’s not hard to imagine the possibility of a winless postseason this year.

Of course, Cowboys fans do not want to focus on any of this. They are sitting at 8-3 riding high after a 45-10 dismantling of the Commanders. They have three prime-time games coming up in a five-game stretch that will prove to be a strong litmus test as to the team’s status as a contender. They’re focused on proving that Dallas is the real deal in the coming weeks and would likely shun the idea of entertaining a rumor like this.

Unfortunately, the likelihood of the scenario that King proposes is still a non-zero number. If that scenario plays out, those same fans may be calling for McCarthy’s head and rejoicing the prospect of bringing in a legend like Belichick, despite his current 2-8 record and his 27-34 record since Tom Brady left New England.

King also points out that, while it seems unlikely that a control freak like Belichick would ever want to work under a control freak like Jones, many thought the same of legendary coach Bill Parcells, whom Jones once coached out of a second retirement in order to coach the ‘Boys back in 2003. Regardless, lots will still need to play out before any of this becomes a possibility, but that doesn’t mean it’s completely out of the realm of possibility.

Cowboys’ Jerry Jones Endorses QB Dak Prescott, HC Mike McCarthy

The Cowboys are set to play the final game of Week 6 tonight, a contest against the Chargers which will be the team’s first opportunity to rebound from their lopsided loss to the 49ers last Sunday. Questions have been raised regarding Dallas’ offense in particular, but owner Jerry Jones remains confident in the unit.

During a regular appearance on 105.3 The Fan, Jones acknowledged the poor showing on the Cowboys’ part in their 42-10 loss. The performance did not, however, give him reason to consider taking play-calling duties away from head coach Mike McCarthy or doubts about quarterback Dak Prescott‘s standing as Dallas’ undisputed starter.

“We have, in my mind — make no mistake about it — we have a quarterback that can get us there,” Jones said, via Fox Sports’ Ralph Vacchiano“I feel very strongly there. [And] we have coaching on both sides of the ball that can get us there.”

Monday will be a noteworthy contest not only given the Cowboys’ aim to bounce back on offense, but the fact that the Chargers have Kellen Moore at the helm of their offense. The latter was let go this offseason after four years as Dallas’ offensive coordinator, a stretch during which the team led the league in scoring twice. That decision paved the way for McCarthy to take on play-calling duties, and he has enjoyed mixed results so far. The Cowboys have had a strong rushing attack, something which has helped them rank sixth in the league in points per game, but struggles through the air have the team sitting only 19th in total offense.

In spite of that, Jones confirmed that no consideration has been given to taking play-calling duties away from McCarthy and handing them to new OC Brian Schottenheimer. That represents the latest vote of confidence in McCarthy, who has routinely faced questions about his job security in the wake of postseason disappointments over the past two years. Both he and Prescott have the full backing of Jones moving forward.

“I’m saying that it’s capable of being there,” the latter added when asked further about the offense. “Since Kellen Moore left, have we gotten this team in a place that can do better than we did against the 49ers? You bet we have. Should we change at this juncture back to where we were last year? No, we should not.”

Jerry Jones Addresses Dak Prescott Contract; No Extension Talks Yet

The Cowboys restructuring Dak Prescott‘s contract this offseason gives their longtime quarterback some ammo. The reworking created a whopping $59.5MM Prescott cap number in 2024, the final year of his current deal. Already limited by the events of 2021 with Dak, the Cowboys have some work to do going forward.

Taking parts of three offseasons to agree to an extension, Prescott ended up playing his hand well. His price rose from 2019-21, and talks ended up coming down to the March 2021 deadline for teams to apply franchise tags. With Prescott having already been tagged in 2020, the 2021 number would have brought a cap sheet-clogging $37MM hit. As that deadline approached, the Cowboys hammered out a four-year, $160MM extension with the former Offensive Rookie of the Year. The fallout from that extension affects the team today.

Because the Cowboys applied a procedural tag on Prescott in 2021, it would be untenable for them to tag him a third time in 2025. While two years remain on Prescott’s deal, the 2024 cap number and the tag being out of play will equip him with considerable leverage. For now, however, the Fort Worth Star-Telegram’s Clarence Hill notes the Cowboys and Dak have not linked up on extension talks. An extension would allow the team to reduce Prescott’s monster 2024 cap number.

The topic of a second Prescott extension surfaced this offseason, but the Cowboys had more pressing matters to address. They have taken care of those, giving Zack Martin a raise and adding more than $35MM guaranteed to end his holdout. They also extended Trevon Diggs, Terence Steele and Malik Hooker to prevent them from going into contract years. CeeDee Lamb looms as an extension priority as well, but he is signed through 2024. Micah Parsons certainly will be, too. The all-world pass rusher becomes extension-eligible in January but can be kept on his rookie deal through 2025 due to the fifth-year option the Cowboys will exercise by May.

Dallas also made a surprising trade for Trey Lance, with Hill adding Jerry Jones pulled the trigger without consulting Prescott or Mike McCarthy. Jones said the Lance trade did not come to pass because of a potential leverage ploy against Prescott, via The Athletic’s Jon Machota (subscription required), and added he wants the current starter in Dallas for a long time. Prescott, 30, declined to comment on prospective contract talks, via the Dallas Morning News’ Calvin Watkins, adding he was not surprised by the Lance acquisition. The former No. 3 overall pick is not expected to play this season, with Hill adding Lance could compete with the recently re-signed Cooper Rush for that job in 2024. Rush is now on a two-year deal.

While Lance counts only $940K on Dallas’ cap sheet this year, that number spikes to $5.31MM in 2024. Prescott’s 2024 number will need to be addressed, as no player has entered a season with a cap hit higher than $45MM. The Browns are in the same boat, though theirs is a bit trickier due to Deshaun Watson‘s 2024-26 cap numbers (all at $63.97MM) part of a fully guaranteed contract. Two void years are on Prescott’s deal. It would cost the Cowboys $36.5MM were they to not extend Prescott before the start of the 2025 league year.