Were the Dallas Cowboys right to extend Will McClay?

Dallas Cowboys (Photo by Ron Jenkins/Getty Images)
Dallas Cowboys (Photo by Ron Jenkins/Getty Images) /

The Dallas Cowboys have reportedly given personnel man Will McClay a two-year extension to remain in Big D. Was it the right call?

According to ESPN, the Dallas Cowboys have given Will McClay a two-year extension. As the team’s vice president of player personnel, McClay has been credited with making several of the Cowboys more successful signings and draft selections in the past five years. But was Dallas right to extend him?

McClay has been with the Cowboys organization for 17 years, but only since 2014 has he been directing the college and pro personnel departments for the team. His role within the organization is best described as being a middle man. From owner and general manager Jerry Jones, to the Cowboys front office personnel, to the coaches and the scouts: McClay is the one who binds them together.

In January, McClay passed up on an opportunity to interview for the general manager job with the Houston Texans. His loyalty to the Cowboys likely figures into Friday’s announcement of his two-year extension in Dallas.

Some of the highlights from McClay’s time in Dallas include helping to convince Jerry Jones to draft Notre Dame offensive guard Zack Martin over Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel in the first round of the 2014 NFL Draft. Also, the selections of players like running back Ezekiel Elliott, linebacker Jaylon Smith and quarterback Dak Prescott in the 2016 NFL Draft. And free agent signings like running backs Darren McFadden and Alfred Morris plus guard Jonathan Cooper.

But for every hit there have been multiple misses. Draft busts like defensive end Randy Gregory, safety Byron Jones and guard Chaz Green were all made on his watch. So was defensive Taco Charlton, last year’s first round selection.

But McClay’s biggest failures have come in properly evaluating and acquiring veterans. Names like defensive tackle Cedric Thornton and linebacker Jasper Brinkley. Plus the trade for quarterback Matt Cassel. Or how about the Greg Hardy debacle?

And let’s not forget last year’s depressing free agency haul. Veterans like safety Robert Blanton, cornerback Nolan Carroll, defensive tackle Stephen Paea, defensive end Damontre Moore were all signed to help the Cowboys in 2017. None of them were even on the team by mid-October. It was one of the worst free agency classes in franchise history.

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Now, how much of a hand Will McClay had in the drafting and signing of these players is anyone’s guess. But if you don’t have the last name “Jones” in this front office, you’re likely going to be the fall guy at some point. So far, the Dallas Cowboys have only showed faith in McClay. And he’s certainly proven his worth to the organization. But only time will tell if extending his time in Dallas was the right move or not.