The Dallas Cowboys have decided to retain head coach Mike McCarthy for the 2024 regular season, per ESPN’s Adam Schefter. This comes in a surprise move just a few days after the Cowboys were upset by the Green Bay Packers 48-32 in the Wild Card Round at home. Many believed the Cowboys would absolutely make a coaching change after that loss. McCarthy has led the Cowboys to three straight 12-5 seasons but has failed to get to the NFC Championship, something Dallas hasn’t done since 1995.
McCarthy is entering the final year of his contract. The Cowboys made a similar move with Jason Garrett’s last year. So this could be McCarthy’s final season in Dallas if the team can’t make a deep playoff run in 2024-25.
Here’s the full statement from owner Jerry Jones on retaining McCarthy:
When you remember Jones kept Garrett around as head coach for almost 10 seasons, this isn’t as surprising a move. While the Cowboys haven’t had great results in the playoffs, it’s going to be difficult to find a head coach with a better track record for getting to the postseason. The Cowboys also wouldn’t want to completely hit the reset button and let go of McCarthy while thinking of moving on from QB Dak Prescott. Both of those feel like a bit of an overreaction. Garrett did far worse. McCarthy could enter the 2024 NFL season with a short leash if the team struggles.
One of the main reasons it’s a surprising move is the free agent head coaching pool at the moment. There’s a lot of talent out there and proven coaches who have won multiple Super Bowls (cough, cough Bill Belichick). Belichick feels like a move Jerry Jones makes 10-20 years ago. But not one he’s going to make right now? To replace a head coach who has had teams flame out in the playoffs ever since 2012? That doesn’t add up. Perhaps Jones knows something we don’t with Belichick. Still, Jim Harbaugh is also out there and might be enticed. He’s been to a Super Bowl and would be motivated. If money isn’t an issue, the Cowboys coaching gig is the most appealing out there. Instead, the Cowboys will keep McCarthy.
Another key factor to consider with this decision is Dan Quinn. He’s interviewing with teams to possibly move back to a head coaching role. Quinn is another guy who has been to a Super Bowl (even if it was that Falcons-Patriots game). Quinn leaving could be a big blow to the defense, a unit that just got torched by a 7-seed. Losing both Quinn and McCarthy feels like a lot. It feels like Jones doesn’t want to reset things again and one domino could mean they all start to fall. Maybe the Cowboys can convince Quinn to stay? It’s possible. Despite the playoff loss, Dallas is still a very good football team. A few offseason moves and the Cowboys can run it back and be in good position to compete next postseason.