Jerry Jones won’t make this easy for Cowboys fans
Of course, none of this is as simple as it appears. Maybe the only thing that Jerry Jones hates more than being wrong, is having to actually admit that he was wrong.
No matter what happens this season, could the GM talk himself into keeping McCarthy? Of course, he could. Has there ever been a move Jones couldn’t talk himself into? I mean, the man talked himself into keeping Jason Garrett for a decade. I wouldn’t put it past him. But this time it feels different.
For one, Payton is sitting right there. While Payton is retired, he’s also still under contract. So, Jones would need to strike a deal with the New Orleans Saints to bring him home. But, Payton’s history with Joneses and the Cowboys is extensive and dates back to his time in Dallas as Bill Parcells’ assistant head coach. Jones has never been shy about his love of Payton, and he did little this offseason to change that narrative.
Jones also made clear his enthusiastic support for current defensive coordinator Dan Quinn. Going so far as to say that he’d interview him to be head coach if he didn’t already have McCarthy under contract. For as much as loves to brag that he “has choices” to be his head coach, I am not sure he’s ever had as many readily available as he does right now.
Then there’s Jones’ historical track record of turnover with his head coaches. Of the coaches that Jerry has hired since he purchased the team in February of 1989, only Jimmy Johnson and Jason Garrett have lasted more than four seasons in Dallas. While Jimmy Johnson won multiple Super Bowls, Jones had a relationship that Garrett that dates back to his time playing under Johnson. McCarthy has neither of those things.
All of this sets the stage for what promises to be a make-or-break year for McCarthy. If he can get this team to string together wins and move forward in a positive direction, he has time to change the narrative surrounding him. If he doesn’t, the Cowboys may be shopping for a new head coach sooner rather than later. If Dallas has a losing record by Week 9, that could mean an early exit for the head coach.
One thing is clear though. From the first regular season snap of the season next month, McCarthy won’t have much room for error with the Cowboys.