If it wasn't already painfully obvious the Dallas Cowboys need to replace Jason Garrett as their Head Coach, it should be now after his poor coaching decision to not to go for the win against the Houston Texans in overtime Sunday night. It was just one of many coaching blunders in Garrett's tenure since replacing Wade Phillips nearly a decade ago. It's time for a change!
With that in mind, I decided to put together a list of a few candidates with varying coaching experience who would be on my short list to replace Jason Garrett as he Dallas Cowboys next head coach. I included everything from a few who have won the Super Bowl as a HC to collegiate coaches who have no NFL coaching experience.
I know my list of potential head-coaching candidates for the Dallas Cowboys won't match up exactly as yours, but I believe everyone I included here would be an upgrade over Jason Garrett. Continue reading below to see who I would like to see become the next Head Coach for America's Team.
Super Bowl Winning HC Candidates
Sean Payton would definitely be at the top of my list to replace Jason Garrett as the Dallas Cowboys next head coach. He not only won the Super Bowl with the New Orleans Saints in 2009, but is arguably one of the best/most creative play callers in the entire NFL. Plus, he already has a good relationship with Jerry Jones and the rest of the Jones family.
Now, Payton is still technically under contract with the Saints until 2020, but they have a kind of hot and cold relationship. I wouldn't be at all surprised if he is somehow looking for a new coaching gig after the season, and I don't think Jerry Jones would hesitate to bring him aboard. I think he would absolutely be able to get the most out of the Cowboys talented, yet poorly coached offense.
Although Sean Payton would be my first choice to replace Jason Garrett, Green Bay Packers Head Coach Mike McCarthy would be my close second. He is another Super Bowl winning HC (2010) who I believe would be an upgrade over Garrett. And as luck would have it, there is a high possibility he could be looking for a new job after the season.
If you believe the scuttlebutt, McCarthy and Aaron Rodgers aren't quite seeing eye to eye nowadays. Their rocky relationship could end up costing McCarthy his job, which could be good news for the Dallas Cowboys. He seems to always have the Packers making a strong push for the Super Bowl each and every year and has a proven track record, which should be welcomed with open arms in Dallas. It would be a little weird at first to see him sporting Cowboys gear, but that would fade quickly once he got the organization back on track.
First Time HC Candidates
The highest job title Kris Richard has held so far in his young coaching career in the NFL is as the Defensive Coordinator with the Seattle Seahawks. He hasn't received the opportunity to show what he can do as a head coach yet in the league, but I don't think it will be much longer until that happens. In fact, he could end up replacing Jason Garrett.
We are still in the early portions of the 2018 season, but we have already seen the impact Richard has made with the Dallas Cowboys. We have seen a much improved defense so far this season. They are much more aggressive and playing with a different kind of attitude than we have seen in the past. It's that attitude that could endear Richard to Jerry Jones. It wouldn't surprise me one bit if Dallas already has their next head coach in Kris Richard.
Matt LaFleur probably isn't a name that the majority of you are very familiar with, but that doesn't mean he's not known in NFL circles. I believe he is an up-and-coming head coach candidate, although he hasn't held a job title higher than offensive coordinator so far in the league.
You could say that LaFleur is a product of the Shanahan coaching tree. He developed a good relationship with Kyle Shanahan and has followed him from the Texans, to the Redskins, and then to the Falcons. From there he joined Sean McVay, who he worked with in Washington, as the offensive coordinator with the Los Angeles Rams in 2017, although McVay still handle the majority of the playcalling duties. In order to get out from McVay's shadow, LaFleur joined the Tennessee Titans to become their OC in 2018.
He is still a little unproven, but I think he is going to make a really good head coach in the NFL someday. If Jerry Jones wants to take a chance on someone like that, I would absolutely be on board with Matt LaFleur as the next Dallas Cowboys head coach.
John DeFilippo is also a name that many of you probably have never heard of. But, I guarantee that he is well known around the NFL and would be on a lot of short lists for teams looking for their next head coach. And yes, that includes the Dallas Cowboys.
DeFilippo is someone who is already well-versed in the NFC East division. He spent the last two years (2016-17) as the quarterbacks coach with the Philadelphia Eagles, but is currently serving as the offensive coordinator with the Minnesota Vikings. I believe the next step in his coaching career will be as a head coach, and that could possibly be with the Cowboys.
I really like the way DeFilippo handles himself and I think he is going to make a really good head coach when he receives the opportunity. He is doing a masterful job as the Vikings OC right now, especially considering how porous their offensive line is. I believe that is a testament to his ability as a coach, which is unfortunately something we can't say the same about Jason Garrett.
Collegiate HC Candidates
If Jerry Jones is looking for someone to make the kind of out of nowhere success that Sean McVay had the Los Angeles Rams, he should set his sights on the college ranks and try to lure Lincoln Riley to the NFL to take over for Jason Garrett as the next head coach for the Dallas Cowboys. I believe he has the same kind of likability as McVay and might be just as good as a play caller.
Lincoln Riley has turned the Oklahoma Sooners into a perennial top 10 offensive unit when he first became their offensive coordinator in 2015 and continued that productivity once he took over for Bob Stoops as the HC in 2017 till now. He has taken underrated quarterbacks (Baker Mayfield and Kyler Murray) and developed them into Heisman hopefuls and pro prospects. I think his infectious personality and attitude would be welcomed with open arms in Dallas.
David Shaw does have a little bit of NFL coaching experience as an assistant with the Philadelphia Eagles, Baltimore Ravens, and Oakland Raiders, but nothing of real significance as of yet. He also has a pretty impressive track record as the head coach at Stanford, which makes him a pretty intriguing candidate to become the Dallas Cowboys next head coach.
At Stanford, David Shaw runs a program that would help him seamlessly transition into the NFL. He runs a pro system on both offense and defense, which is why Stanford players generally make the transition into the NFL relatively easily. I think he would be on a lot of short lists for NFL teams looking for a head coach, but so far Shaw has made no indication he wants to leave the college ranks. Maybe a job offer from the Dallas Cowboys is what he's waiting for.
Do you like any of these head-coaching candidates for the Dallas Cowboys?
Could Loaded FA Safety Market Drive Down Earl Thomas’ Value?
It's no secret the Dallas Cowboys and Earl Thomas share a mutual interest in one another. Thomas has publicly stated his desire to join America's Team and the Cowboys did their darndest to make that happen last offseason. Nothing ever materialized a year ago, but it's looking as if the stars have finally aligned and a union between the two could merely be just weeks away.
Surprisingly enough, the Dallas Cowboys may have dodged a bullet last year when the Seattle Seahawks refused to part ways with their All-Pro safety. Not only would they have had to surrender a high draft pick, but they would've also had to extend Thomas' contract. Fortunately, timing is everything and now the Cowboys might just have to do the latter.
A potential contract between the Cowboys and Thomas is of course what I want to dive in today. I'm not going to get into numbers right now, because it's nearly impossible to project any kind of contract for any safety this offseason, especially for the former Seahawk, Earl Thomas.
Right now, it's a little difficult to know who might have the advantage in contract negotiations, Earl Thomas or the Dallas Cowboys. A lot of times the one that has the leverage, however slight, is the one that gets the better of the deal. As surprising as it may be, the Cowboys might just have the advantage here and I'll tell you why.
First off, this year's market for free agent safeties is pretty stacked with starting caliber players. See below:
- Earl Thomas
- Landon Collins
- Lamarcus Joyner
- Tyrann Mathieu
- Adrian Amos
- Clayton Geathers
- Ha-Ha Clinton Dix
- Glover Quinn
- Tre Boston
- Kenny Vaccaro
- George Iloka
- Jimmie Ward
- Adrian Phillips
Earl Thomas is obviously the headliner here amongst the free agent safeties, but having so many starting caliber players available could drive down Thomas' market value just a bit. This is especially true when you take into consideration the market for FA safeties just a year ago. It was almost a complete standstill last year, with only Kurt Coleman signing a three-year $16.5 million deal with the New Orleans Saints. Not even the "Honey Badger" Tyrann Mathieu could get more than a one-year deal.
With all of these safeties available in free agency, we could be looking at another stingy market. This of course could be good or bad news for the Dallas Cowboys, especially as it pertains to Earl Thomas. Since he is the top FA safety available, everything could once again be at a standstill until he is signed.
Of course, we all know this will ultimately come down to determining Earl Thomas' market value. There is no denying he is still arguably the best free safety in the game today, but there are concerns about his age (30) and the two lower leg injuries he's sustained in the past three years.
Even with the loaded free agent market of starting caliber safeties and Thomas' age and recent injury history, he's still likely to receive a contract that earns him $10 million annually, give or take. It wouldn't surprise me at all if he gets another four-year deal worth $40 million, $25.7 million guaranteed, with a $9.5 million signing bonus like he signed with the Seahawks back in 2014.
The Cowboys of course would probably find a four-year $40 million deal for Earl Thomas acceptable. They would more than likely frontload the contract with a lot of protection in the details. They have the cap space to make this happen and still be able to sign their own, so money shouldn't be a problem.
Now, whether or not Thomas' market value may dip a little due to all of the above mentioned reasons will be something we will have to wait and find out. Regardless, I'd be a little shocked if Earl Thomas doesn't finish his career with the Dallas Cowboys.
Do you think Earl Thomas' market value will take a little hit this offseason?
Acquiring Brown Will Give Dallas Twin Turbo Terrors
What a difference a receiver makes, right? As Dallas fans, we know the impact of a player who can shake coverage, get open, and catch the ball. How was the season going before the Cowboys pulled the trigger for Amari Cooper in the deal with the Raiders? Cooper proved to be the lightning rod and a turning point in a season that was growing increasingly dismal. Dak Prescott and Cooper went together like peanut butter and jelly, while the Cowboys stormed to a division title and a postseason berth.
Now, imagine all of that times two… maybe even two and a half if Antonio Brown could be had from the Steelers. Scary right? We understand there’s only one ball to go around but that didn’t stop Kevin Durant from joining the Warriors, did it?
As of this writing, the best online sportsbooks like Intertops, are dealing Dallas as the seventh of 16 choices to win the NFC championship at odds of 12-1. Imagine how those odds would shrink if Brown wore a Cowboys uniform next season, giving Prescott the luxury of not one upper echelon wideout but that plus an elite receiver. Hut, hut, hut and a few clouds of smoke later the Cowboys would be moving the chains or celebrating in the endzone.
Brown and Cooper would be a devastating combination with Ezekiel Elliott coming out of the backfield. Brown was made for Dallas, it gives him an even grander stage than the one he shared with Ben Roethlisberger and Le’Veon Bell in Pittsburgh.
Despite the fact that the 'Boys haven’t won a Super Bowl since Barry Switzer was roaming the sidelines in the mid-90s, America’s Team still resides in Dallas. But we need a game-changer and Brown is just such an athlete. But what do we give in return and will that cost be worth whatever productive years Brown has left after this one? Let’s not forget that the mercurial Miami native will be 31 when the season begins and men who make a living with their legs don’t get better at that age. But Brown is so good and so unique that, even if he drops half a click, he's still amongst the best in the game.
That level of talent is hard to replicate and it could be the missing piece which allows Dallas to be a legitimate Super Bowl contender next season and the year after.
However, up to this point, we’ve been very good at dreaming of a Brown to Dallas trade but haven’t quite worked out the details. It takes two to tango and if we expect to get the Steelers’ attention we need to give them something valuable in return. Dallas surrendered their first-round pick (27th) this season when they traded for Cooper so that’s no longer an asset.
Pittsburgh would be vying for a first-round pick (and likely more) for Brown's services but some have speculated Dallas would consider dealing rookie-standout Leighton Vander Esch.
Wait... what? We know, you’re clutching your pearls, and the words are stuck in your gasp. We get it. The kid was a home run this past season, leading the Dallas defense in tackles and earning a Pro Bowl invitation in his inaugural NFL season. But this would be a Faustian deal.
The Cowboys give up a player who is poised to be a stud for years to come for a playmaker in Brown that could render a Super Bowl in the immediate future. Brown's expiration date will surely turn his milk sour sooner rather than later, but in the here and now, Antonio Brown could be the bell cow who leads the Cowboys to the promised land before he’s put out to pasture.
Just something to think about...
2018 In Review: CB Anthony Brown Bounces Back
To say it's been an up-and-down start to the career of young cornerback Anthony Brown would be an understatement.
As a sixth round pick in 2016, everything Brown contributed during his rookie season was a plus. Due to injury he was asked to step into a greater role as the season went on, and he performed well enough to make the front office comfortable allowing multiple veterans to walk for nothing in free agency the following Spring. Brown looked like a legitimate starting cornerback in the league, and when Dallas brought in Chidobe Awuzie and Jourdan Lewis during the next draft, the young secondary seemed set.
Then 2017 happened. And Anthony Brown struggled. Really struggled.
These struggles, coupled with the emergence of both Lewis and Awuzie during their own rookie seasons, made Brown's status heading into 2018 rather uncertain. Some wondered if they would trade him for a day three pick, others thought Brown could even end up being cut. Jourdan Lewis and Anthony Brown were slated to compete for the nickel cornerback job in training camp, and as it turned out, all Brown needed was that one extra chance to compete.
Brown won the job outright during the preseason, and began 2018 as the starting nickel. A fan favorite, most thought Lewis would reclaim his rightful spot on the depth chart sooner or later, but Anthony Brown's play (and Kris Richard's preferences) kept Lewis on the bench for much of the season.
Simply put, Anthony Brown balled in 2018, and was the Cowboys' second best corner for most of the year. By the end of the season Chidobe Awuzie had regained form, but Brown and Byron Jones were the most consistently reliable corners on the roster all of 2018.
Brown tallied 44 tackles, 2 sacks, and an interception in 2018, and finished third on the team in pass breakups with 8. As the slot corner Brown had an excellent season, especially for a former sixth round pick.
Now he enters a contract year, and with the Cowboys having so many guys to pay over the next two offseasons, he could find himself as an unrestricted free agent in 2020. And if he can keep up his play from last year moving forward, he could be in for a nice payday that Spring.
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