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The Callahan Conundrum

A lot has been made with Bill Callahan being retained, and how Jerry Jones is not "letting him" move on and get another position. What is failing to be revealed is the practical and legal issues behind that. That's what I'm here to do. To show you there is more than meets they eye in this situation...

DISCLAIMER: This is according to California Law, and my understanding of it (I graduated law school, and am taking the Bar exam in February). Texas law may be different, and if you know an attorney who practices in Texas, you probably should ask them about this... This is no way legal advice, or counseling. Just my fundamental understanding.

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Photo via blacksportsonline.com

With that....

Legally speaking, when a contract is formed, a service contract in this situation (I pay you X amount, you coach offensive line), we are bound by it. Common sense, right? We all understand this basic elementary principle.

However... This is where a legal education distinguishes between common knowledge, and actual application.
A contract is reformed if you now have added NEW or ADDITIONAL duties or even TAKE AWAY DUTIES. It has to be a new contract if that is the case.

Essentially the terms get changed out, and now the contract will say (I pay you Y amount, and you will now be the play-caller, and offensive line coach.

So, in order for Bill Callahan to have been made the play caller two things would have happened, either:

(1) It (the option to calls plays at some point) was in his ORIGINAL contract when he signed on to be offensive line coach

OR

(2) He had a NEW contract written up which made him the play-caller.

To the first option, there is no way Bill Callahan became a play caller while under his original contract, because Jerry Jones had a PRE-EXISTING LEGAL DUTY to pay him for his original services, and could not pay him the same amount for new, or additional work (again, unless the play calling aspect was in his original contract)--- Yes, language to becoming a play caller had to be present, in the ORIGINAL CONTRACT. If it was, that's pretty interesting, because that means Jerry Jones thought this out pretty far in advance that Callahan might take over play-calling... That's a whole different story.

Now to the second option, if the contract was reformed, or rewritten, to add the play calling responsibilities, that means the old contract was torn up, and new one was written. So, that means in order for Bill Callahan to go BACK to being an O-Line coach he would have had to sign a NEW contract; essentially a THIRD contract, because as soon as Jerry Jones demoted Callahan, Callahan had the option to terminate his contract, due to him not being able to perform his responsibilities in the contract. (You guys should take this into consideration, when you ask why Jason Garrett didn't just "take over" the play calling responsibilities; there was a contractual legal predicament Jerry Jones would have been in if that was admitted--- Callahan would have proof the Cowboys violated his contract, but taking away his duties).

You cannot LEGALLY force anyone to work for you (13th Amendment, makes in involuntary servitude illegal). You can however PREVENT that person for working for someone else while they are under contract with you.

So, what I would presume happened was Jerry Jones told him (1) you can terminate your contract, and see if you can find another job, or (2) you can rework your contract, and take the demoted position. Callahan either didn't think he had other options, because he legally could have terminated his contract, and sought other work, or, for whatever reason, he decided to stay with the Cowboys over those other possible options, and take a demoted position.

Either way, Jerry Jones is not, did not, and cannot force Callahan to take a new position without a new contract unless either of the two previous contracts had explicit terms where Callahan would or could at some point become an offensive coordinator/ play-caller.


Another user-created commentary provided by a BTB reader.

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