Chargers' Jim Harbaugh hire could cost Cowboys dream Dan Quinn replacement

Michigan v Penn State
Michigan v Penn State / Scott Taetsch/GettyImages

The LA Chargers made the inevitable official on Wednesday when they hired Jim Harbaugh as their new head coach. This could have a domino effect on old friend Kellen Moore, who's since received multiple interview requests for offensive coordinator vacancies, including for the Eagles (!) and Browns.

It could also have a domino effect on the Dallas Cowboys, who could have a defensive coordinator hole to fill if Dan Quinn takes a head coaching job. Quinn took his second interview with the Seahawks on Thursday and reports suggest he's the favorite for the job.

The Cowboys could look internally to replace Quinn. Should they look outside the organization, though, they can all but cross off Jesse Minter from their list of candidates. Minter would've been an exceptional get for Dallas.

Minter served as Harbaugh's defensive coordinator for two seasons and led Michigan to the top-ranked scoring defense in 2023. They allowed just 9.5 points per game and foiled a high-powered Washington offense in the CFP National Championship to the tune of 13 points and just 301 yards of total offense.

Multiple reports indicate Harbaugh wants to bring Minter to the Chargers to be his defensive coordinator.

Jim Harbaugh's NFL return could cost Cowboys dream Dan Quinn replacement

This all but rules out Minter as a possibility for the Cowboys. Not that it would've happened anyway, but it's still a tough pill to swallow.

Assuming Minter would've returned to the NFL regardless, teams would've been lining up to hire him as their defensive coordinator. He stepped in as head coach while Harbaugh was suspended and his defense carried the Wolverines to victory.

What makes Minter such a perfect fit for the Cowboys is his history under Ravens defensive coordinator Mike Macdonald. He worked with Macdonald on the Ravens from 2017-20 and went on to replace him as Michigan's defensive coordinator in 2022.

Notably, Macdonald's had success against the Kyle Shanahan coaching tree. Just this season, Macdonald's defense stymied Shanahan himself, Mike McDaniel, Sean McVay and Bob Slowik, including other top play-callers Ben Johnson, Shane Steichen and Kevin Stefanski.

We all know the Shanahan tree has given Quinn fits over the years, including in the playoffs and Minter uses a lot of the same concepts as Macdonald.

Minter following Harbaugh to the Chargers isn't set in stone, but their history coupled with the fact McCarthy is entering a lame duck year in 2024 makes it all but impossible for the Cowboys to hire him as Quinn's potential replacement.

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