Report: Lincoln Riley would have hard time saying no to the Cowboys

Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

Everything at this point surrounding both Lincoln Riley and the future of the Dallas Cowboys’ head coaching position is pure conjecture.

Riley is leading his Oklahoma Sooners to College Football Playoff contention. Bandied about as a potential long-term replacement for Hue Jackson in Cleveland, Riley sought to snuff out those rumors immediately.

In Dallas, head coach Jason Garrett is seemingly on the hot seat with his Cowboys at 4-5 on the season. Though, we’ve become accustomed to owner Jerry Jones showing some weird loyalty to his coaches in the past. That now apparently includes Mr. Garrett.

According to this report from Albert Breer of Sports Illusrated, Riley to the Cowboys is a real possibility. In fact, the NFL insider believes it’s the only possibility should the up-and-coming coach bolt the college ranks for the pros.

“I think every team that has an opening will call Lincoln Riley, who really likes the job he’s got at Oklahoma,” Breer noted. “My feeling is that the Cowboys would probably be the one team, as a native Texan, that Riley would have a hard time saying no to. And if Dallas makes a change, it’s worth mentioning that the Jones family does have a relationship with Riley, who recruited Jerry’s grandson.”

This is precisely the type of hire Jones would want to make if he decides to move on from Garrett. More than anything, the Cowboys have been a family business for the long-time owner. Adding someone that’s close to his family to take the team into the future would be ideal. And while Jones has called any talk of Riley to Dallas speculation, there’s no reason to believe he wouldn’t be interested.

Of course, this is all dependent on Garrett not being retained in Big D. At least for the short term, he might have saved his job with a win over the Philadelphia Eagles last week. But with two games over the next seven days, Garrett’s future with the Cowboys might be decided here short term.

Riley, 35, took over the program in Norman last season. He ultimately led Oklahoma to a 12-2 record and a spot in the College Football Playoff. That included Baker Mayfield earning the Heisman trophy before being selected No. 1 overall in the 2018 NFL Draft. Oklahoma currently sits at 9-1 on the season and right in the thick of the CFP race.