NFL Rumors: Cowboys would've hired an even worse HC if Mike McCarthy was fired

Washington Commanders v Dallas Cowboys
Washington Commanders v Dallas Cowboys / Brandon Sloter/GettyImages

If the worst loss in franchise history wasn't enough to incentive the Dallas Cowboys to make wholesale changes, then nothing will. In a stunning turn of events, Mike McCarthy will return as head coach in 2024, which is the final year of his contract.

Everyone anticipated Jerry Jones to make an impulsive decision following Sunday's blowout loss against the Green Bay Packers, but it's easy to make the argument for keeping McCarthy. He owns a 42-35 record and has two NFC East titles in three years to go with three straight playoff berths.

Furthermore, Dak Prescott led the NFL in touchdown passes and had the best season of his career with McCarthy taking over play-calling.

The argument for moving on from McCarthy? On one hand, the market of available coaches is unprecedented. Between Bill Belichick, Mike Vrabel, Jim Harbaugh, Ben Johnson, Mike Macdonald and Bob Slowik, the Cowboys almost couldn't get it wrong if they fired McCarthy.

On the contrary, yes they could've. According to Pro Football Focus' Marcus Mosher, Dallas' alternative options were terrible.

NFL Rumors: Cowboys were considering terrible options to replace Mike McCarthy

This is a terrifying thought. Were they thinking about promoting Dan Quinn from defensive coordinator to head coach? Folks have surmised that's been Dallas masterplan all along, but Quinn has fallen out of favor with the fan base after his defense collapsed down the stretch of the season and in the playoffs.

Could they have brought Kellen Moore back? The Chargers are searching for a head coach and seemingly have their sights set on Jim Harbaugh. Being that Harbaugh is an offensive-minded coach and would want full control of the offense, it's not crazy to think Moore would be enticed to leave sunny Los Angeles.

Regardless, whatever Mosher's been hearing clearly didn't inspire confidence. Cowboys fans on social media are speculating Mike Zimmer was in consideration. Zimmer served as the Cowboys defensive coordinator from 2000-06 with every uninspiring results and has been out of coaching for two years after he was fired by the Vikings following the 2021 season.

Whomever the Cowboys were considering, it's clear it wasn't one of the aforementioned available candidates.

Belichick's age is a concern, but you can bet Dallas wouldn't have been as shell-shocked by the moment on Sunday if he was leading the team.

A former player, Vrabel is a great leader of men and his Titans teams always punched above their weight class. Harbaugh's won everywhere he's coached, and Johnson and Slowik are two of the best young offensive minds in the sport. We've seen teams led by young offensive head coaches have instant and sustained success.

The good news is the Cowboys didn't make a regrettable hire. McCarthy isn't in fan's good graces right now, but Mosher's intel suggests he's superior to the options the Jonses had in their crosshairs. We're not even sure if we want to know whom they had in mind.

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