Polarizing DC candidate still in play for Cowboys as Mike Zimmer hire hits snag

2017 Summer TCA Tour - Day 2
2017 Summer TCA Tour - Day 2 / Frederick M. Brown/GettyImages

Dallas Cowboys fans might want to pause their celebrations after the team reportedly hired Mike Zimmer as its new defensive coordinator. A deal was never announced by the Cowboys and reports cropped up during the NFL Honors on Thursday that indicated an agreement still hadn't been reached.

Is Zimmer demanding too much money? Did Jerry Jones low-ball his former longtime assistant and defensive coordinator?

Whatever the case, ESPN's Adam Schefter reported on the Pat McAfee Show on Monday that "Zimmer's deal isn't done yet" and that Rex Ryan is still very much in the mix for the job. Schefter even noted that the Cowboys "loved" Ryan, who interviewed with the team last week.

Cowboys haven't officially hired Mike Zimmer, Rex Ryan reportedly still in the mix

Another twist in the DC search, which appears far from over. We'd venture to say Zimmer is still the favorite for the job, but it appears the Cowboys are still in contact with Ryan, who disputed Schefter's initial report of Zimmer's hire on "NFL Countdown" on Sunday.

“First off, I’m not so sure Zimmer has that job right now,” Ryan said. “I’m not sure about that. I can honestly say I don’t believe that’s a fact right now.”

Ryan obviously knows something or he wouldn't question Schefter's intel. Schefter happens to be Ryan's colleague at ESPN, too, so the last thing the former Jets coach would want is to ruffle the feathers of a plugged-in insider. However, given that Ryan contacted Mike McCarthy himself and already interviewed with the team, perhaps he's more plugged-in on Dallas' DC search than Schefter.

Regardless, it seems Ryan isn't out of the running. Far from it, actually. It's impossible to say what caused a snag in Zimmer's supposed agreement, but both Schefter and Ryan paint the picture that Ryan would be the next-man up if negotiations with Zimmer completely fall through.

The majority of Cowboys Nation would prefer Zimmer over Ryan, but the former Jets head coach is one of the most accomplished defensive coaches of the last 20 years. His Jets and Ravens defenses always ranked among the best in the NFL. The only pushback we have of Dallas' interest is that Ryan's been out of the game for eight years.

This will all be resolved soon, but right now it's anyone's guess who will coordinator the Cowboys defense in 2024.

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