The Dallas Cowboys have cooled off in recent weeks, narrowly escaping with a win over the Houston Texans and then losing to the Jacksonville Jaguars. On the brink of another late-season collapse, it appears Jerry Jones might already be thinking about a new head coach.
Jones made it clear before the 2022 season that head coach Mike McCarthy needed to take this team on a deep playoff run. Dallas hasn’t won a playoff game since Jan. 4, 2015, a streak that has put mounting pressure on the entire organization.
McCarthy knew he needed to accomplish a lot this season to stick around in 2023. Things looked promising after a 9-3 start, with the Cowboys’ Super Bowl odds skyrocketing and many confident this team could hoist the Lombardi Trophy.
All of that has changed in recent weeks. Costly turnovers have put Dallas in bad positions, requiring a game-winning drive to beat Houston and then handing Jacksonville an overtime victory. While McCarthy still has a little time to save his job, it seems there is already a head-coaching target emerging on the Cowboys’ radar.
According to Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk, many around the NFL hold an increasing belief that anything short of a trip to the NFC Championship Game would potentially result in McCarthy being fired. If that happens, Jones would immediately target Sean Payton to become the next Dallas Cowboys head coach.
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Payton and Jones have long been interested n partnering up. Dallas previously made a run at the future Hall of Fame coach, but a deal fell through at the last minute. Years later, the Cowboys would likely be prepared to bring Jones’ dream to fruition.
Hiring Payton won’t be cheap. The Saints still hold his contractual rights and the asking price starts at a first-round pick, more if a team is near the back half of the 2023 NFL Draft order. Even if a trade agreement is reached with New Orleans, Payton is expected to land a massive contract extension that would better reflect the rising salaries for head coaches.
The Los Angeles Chargers, Arizona Cardinals and Los Angeles Rams are viewed as the toughest possible competition to land Payton. However, the Chargers would likely keep Brandon Staley if they make the playoffs and the Rams’ gig only becomes available if Sean McVay retires.
Ultimately, the Cowboys could be in a great position to hire Payton if they want him. Jones has proven that costs won’t prevent him from making a move he really wants and acquiring the coach he has sought for years will likely be his top priority if the Cowboys don’t win the Super Bowl.