Per reports, the Dallas Cowboys are interviewing Mike Zimmer for their defensive coordinator position on Tuesday. With Joe Whitt Jr. following Dan Quinn to Washington, many folks in the know believe Zimmer is the favorite for the job.
First and foremost, Zimmer is a former head coach. Mike McCarthy has zero influence on the defense, so the Cowboys essentially want a second coach to oversee the defense. Zimmer has also worked under Jerry Jones and there's a mutal respect between Zimmer and McCarthy from their time as rivals in the NFC North.
While everyone waits for this domino to fall, Cowboys fans are just as anxious to learn of Al Harris' fate. Harris is on the record saying he'd follow Quinn wherever he goes, but that decision is now out of his hands after Quinn hired Cowboys defensive passing game coordinator Joe Whitt Jr. as his defensive coordinator.
In doing so, Quinn might've helped Dallas keep the highly-touted Harris.
Dan Quinn might have helped the Cowboys keep Al Harris for another season.
Harris is currently under contract with the Cowboys, meaning he can only leave the team via a promotion. The only promotion available for Harris would have been if Quinn hired him as Washington's defensive coordinator. Since that title was given to Whitt, Harris could only join Quinn via a lateral move. That gives Dallas the authority to block Harris' departure, per NFL rules.
Now, the ball is in the Cowboys' court. Given the exceptional work Harris has done coaching the defensive backs, he's earned a promotion. The only problem is there's (seemingly) no promotion readily available for Harris. With that in mind, Jerry Jones should give Harris a substantial raise to keep him around.
As of this writing, there are other DC jobs available. Namely, the Seahawks have an opening, but Harris' inexperience give him long odds to land a coordinator title. To the best of our knowledge, no team has requested an interview with Harris for a defensive coordinator post.
Harris' coaching resume doesn't extend beyond coaching secondaries. Granted, some assistants have made unexpected leaps to coordinator gigs, but Harris has yet to work with another position group, let alone call plays. One more (successful) year coaching Dallas' DBs could lead to Harris earning a promotion.
At the end of the day, sticking around might be Harris' best interest. The players clearly love him, as evidenced by Trevon Diggs endorsing him to replace Quinn. Who knows? Maybe the Cowboys' grand plan is to have whomever they hire as DC to groom Harris as the long-term replacement.