Many have come away from the 2019 NFL Draft feeling that the Dallas Cowboys drafted more the future than for the upcoming season. If that’s true, then what does that say about the job security of Head Coach Jason Garrett?
Garrett is entering the final year of his current contract, and it’s been reported that the team doesn’t plan to extend him until sometime during or after the 2019 season. That has naturally led to speculation that Jason’s future in Dallas depends on how the team performs this year.
But usually, when a coach is fighting for his life, you’d see that reflected in the team’s personnel moves. The urgency of now tends to show up in the draft.
This 2019 class didn’t show that urgency. Areas where the team could’ve used some immediate help, such as safety or tight end, were passed over for more long-sighted picks at defensive tackle and especially offensive line.
That Connor McGovern pick in the third round really stands out in this discussion of “long-term vs. 2019” thinking. Dallas could’ve gone after a player who might have a significant impact on the upcoming season, but instead took a backup offensive lineman whose bets value will probably come in 2020 and beyond.
Again, what does that say about Jason Garrett’s future?
It’s important to acknowledge that Garrett doesn’t have final say in draft picks. The Jones family will be here longer than Jason, and perhaps scouting boss Will McClay as well, so their goals for a draft may be separate from their commitment to the current head coach.
But we all know how badly Jerry Jones wants for Jason Garrett to be the guy who takes Dallas back to the Super Bowl. It would be the vindication Jerry’s longed for since parting ways with Jimmy Johnson; his handpicked coach returning the Cowboys to glory with the team they built together.
Another consideration is that the Cowboys already looked like a championship contender even before the draft. With the development of young talent, Travis Frederick returning, and free agent additions such as Robert Quinn and Randall Cobb, the roster was already seemingly stronger than last year’s playoff team.
Management may have felt that they’ve already given Jason Garrett more than enough to get the job done in 2019, so they took a more long-term view towards the draft.
Again, not giving Garrett an extension beyond this season says a ton. Dallas clearly wants to see how things go before they make any commitments, and that is its own form of indictment.
But by not throwing every resource into 2019, which includes the use of their draft picks, the Cowboys are also saying that they have faith in Jason Garrett to succeed with the roster they’ve built. If you’re going to read one as an indictment, consistency demands that you read the other as an endorsement.
Maybe rookies like Trysten Hill, Connor McGovern, and Tony Pollard will have more immediate impact than I’m giving them credit. Maybe they’ll be part of what pushes the modern era Cowboys to new heights, and helps Garrett secure his future.
From coaches to players to executives to fans, the long wait begins to see what the 2019 season means for all parties.