Is Sean Payton the Dallas Cowboys’ next head coach?
Despite having posted a 10-6 regular season and a playoff win, could the Dallas Cowboys still replace head coach Jason Garrett with Sean Payton?
In January of 2007, Bill Parcells retired as the head coach of the Dallas Cowboys after a four-year run. For the first three of those four seasons, Sean Payton was the Cowboys’ assistant head coach, quarterbacks’ coach and eventually became the passing game coordinator as well.
Payton was as close to being the Cowboys’ head coach under Parcells as one could get without the title. And he was responsible for bringing quarterback Tony Romo to Dallas. Many believe that if Parcells had retired one season earlier than Payton would have been the next head coach of America’s Team.
Instead, Payton became the head coach of the New Orleans Saints in 2006. He would lead the struggling franchise to their first and only Super Bowl victory just four years later. Now, he’s on the cusp of leading the Saints to yet another Super Bowl appearance as New Orleans will face off against the Los Angeles Rams this weekend in the NFC Championship game.
It’s a postseason matchup the Cowboys are forced to watch from the comfort of their own homes as Dallas was eliminated from playoff contention last weekend by those same Rams.
Following a successful year where the Cowboys bounced back from a 3-5 start to end the season with a 10-6 record, winning the NFC East title and posting a playoff victory over the Seattle Seahawks in the Wild Card round; it appears on the surface that head coach Jason Garrett has earned himself a contract extension in Dallas.
Although Garrett has another year left on his current deal, the Cowboys are rumored to want to lock up the nine-year head coach for the foreseeable future. But the good folks over at Pro Football Talk seem to think that owner and general manager Jerry Jones may be leaving the door open for another head coach to take the helm of the Cowboys soon.
On Tuesday, Jones told 105.3 The Fan that he could not comment on potential staff changes because he has the last say and that they may see an opportunity next week that they didn’t have this week.
Here’s what Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk speculated might be the reason for Jones’ cryptic response.
"“So what opportunity could arise next week? … Next week, coaches will be available, in theory, who aren’t available now … Is Jones suggesting that, if the Saints lose, the Cowboys would explore upgrading from Jason Garrett to Sean Payton?”"
The relationship between Sean Payton, Jerry Jones, and Stephen Jones is well documented. And Payton’s future in New Orleans is likely tied to the game this weekend and the future of 40-year old quarterback Drew Brees. The Saints’ head coach is also under contract through 2020, which would be another obstacle to tackle.
The recent firing of Scott Linehan as offensive coordinator could be an indication that Garrett will remain in Dallas, especially if the Cowboys hire another OC anytime soon. The team has been reportedly interviewing candidates and you’d think if Payton was considered an option Dallas could hold off on hiring anyone until he was possibly available as a new head coach would certainly want to hire his own staff.
The biggest question is would Jerry Jones actually replace Jason Garrett after a successful season in Dallas? If he does, it likely has to do with who is available to replace Garrett and the fact the 76-year old Jones isn’t getting any younger.