Jerry Jones explains cheapskate reason for keeping Mike McCarthy

Jan 8, 2020; Frisco, Texas, USA; Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones answers questions with new head
Jan 8, 2020; Frisco, Texas, USA; Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones answers questions with new head / Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

The Dallas Cowboys caught everyone off-guard when they decided to keep Mike McCarthy as head coach. It was widely assumed McCarthy sealed his fate after Dallas got blown out at home by the Packers in the wild card round.

The Fox broadcast panned to a disgusted Jerry Jones multiple times mid-game. That seemed to foreshadow the inevitable as far as McCarthy's future, but Jones chose to keep McCarthy, citing the consistency and winning culture he's brought to franchise.

Despite the vote of confidence, Jones still hasn't given McCarthy a contract extension, meaning the coach will enter a lame-duck year with his contract set to expire after the 2024 season. This puts so much (unnecessary) added pressure on McCarthy, his staff and the players.

While speaking to the media at the league meetings in Orlando, Jones admitted to enjoy operating with coaches in the final year of their contract. The owner didn't shut the door on extending McCarthy but he gave a cheapskate explanation for why he ultimately decided to retain McCarthy for a fifth year.

Jerry Jones reason for keeping Mike McCarthy will enrage Cowboys fans

"You’ve got a very significant problem in the NFL with dead money for coaches," Jones said, via Jarrett Bell of USA Today. "And it’s because you’ve got extended contracts, to where if you let somebody go, you’ve got to pay off their contract. It’s gotten to be so much of an issue that you can decide if you want to do what you do this year and reshuffle the cards next year with them. There’s nothing that says I won’t be extending those coaches next year. They’re all good coaches. Obviously. That’s just the way I do it.

"I’m doing it, to be very candid with you, because we have such a problem with dead money with coaches in the NFL. So, that’s what I’m trying to avoid."

It's easy to interpret Jones' quote as he didn't want any dead money on the books in 2024 by firing McCarthy. By keeping McCarthy, Jones isn't contributing to the supposed "significant problem" the NFL has with dead money tied to coaches that were let go. Cheapskate wouldn't even begin to describe Jones' rationale for retaining McCarthy.

Between 2018-2022, NFL teams spent a whopping $800 million on fired coaches and executives, according to ESPN. That's a lofty number, but why is Jones so bothered by it? He owns the most valuable sports team in the world and has a net worth of $13.9 billion, per Forbes.

McCarthy wasn't even in the top 10 in terms of highest-paid coaches in 2023. He has a reported salary of around $6 million per year. If this was a Sean Payton ($18 million), Jim Harbaugh ($16 million), or Sean McVay ($14.5 million) situation, Jones' explanation would have some substance.

This, however, is flat-out embarrassing. Forget the betterment of the team. That's seldom at the forefront of Jones' mind. Forget about whether McCarthy has earned an extension or another season, or how much McCarthy not having security beyond 2024 impacts his coaching or player performance.

As always, Jones is crying poverty and worried about the bottom line.

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