Dallas Cowboys: Not extending Jason Garrett’s contract is the right call
The Dallas Cowboys are finally making the right choice by not rewarding mediocre head coach Jason Garrett with an extension past 2019.
For nine seasons, Jason Garrett has been the head coach of the Dallas Cowboys. No other head coach in the history of America’s Team, other than the great Tom Landry, has had more time at the helm of this beloved franchise.
Yet, the Cowboys have only been to the playoffs three times during Garrett’s tenure. And they have two postseason victories during his run as head coach, both of which have been in the Wildcard round and no further.
There are only five head coaches in the NFL who have been in their positions longer than Garrett. They are the New England Patriots’ Bill Belichick, the Baltimore Ravens’ John Harbaugh, the New Orleans Saints’ Sean Payton, and Pittsburgh Steelers’ Mike Tomlin. Seattle Seahawks’ head coach Pete Carroll was hired in 2010, the same year Garrett took over the Cowboys’ franchise as interim head coach from a fired Wade Phillips midseason.
What do all of the above head coaches have in common? All five have earned at least one Super Bowl win during their tenure. That’s the stark difference between those five and Garrett, who has never even won in the divisional round of the playoffs.
Still, Garrett enters 2019 as the head coach of the Cowboys. That’s despite starting last season with a 3-5 record. Following a midseason trade for wide receiver Amari Cooper, Dallas was able to finish the year at 10-6, becoming the NFC East champions and posting a playoff victory against the Seahawks.
But last season’s success was not enough to save the job of offensive coordinator Scott Linehan, who has now been replaced by 29-year old quarterbacks coach Kellen Moore. And despite coming off the second playoff victory of his head coaching career just last month, Garrett enters the 2019 season with only one-year left on his current contract.
Here what Cowboys’ owner and general manager Jerry Jones told the Star-Telegram about his lame duck head coach at the NFL Honors program Saturday night before Super Bowl LIII in Atlanta.
"“We have been there before without a contract. [Garrett] trusts me. I do trust him or he wouldn’t be the head coach to begin with. Our business is made too much of when you look at extensions and non extensions.”"
Jones is referring to the 2014 season. Garrett was similarly in the final year of his contract in Dallas after three straight 8-8 seasons without a playoff berth. With his back against the wall, Garrett led the Cowboys to a 12-4 record, an NFC East title and a playoff win against the Detroit Lions. That team would lose to the Green Bay Packers in the divisional round.
Although the Cowboys didn’t win, Garrett did. He scored a five-year, $30 million extension that offseason and Dallas promptly nosedived the following year with a 4-12 record mainly due to injuries suffered by then starting quarterback Tony Romo.
The fact is no other head coach in the NFL has held his job longer than Jason Garrett without a Lombardi Trophy to show for it. And under Garrett, the Cowboys haven’t even been a perennial playoff team, much less a Super Bowl one. Many have wondered for years why Dallas has given him so many chances. And it appears the Cowboys are finally making the right choice, not extending Garrett for being mediocre.