The Cowboys have a general manager in owner Jerry Jones, but they also have a pseudo-general manager in the form of Will McClay. Officially he is the Cowboys Vice President of Player Personnel but behind the scenes he does a lot of the heavy lifting in coordinating the draft and finding hidden gems that the Cowboys sign as free agents.
Every year, teams come sniffing around, entertaining the idea of making McClay their general manager. So far, McClay has resisted, including turning down an interview opportunity with the Houston Texans this offseason. The Cowboys value McClay, and Todd Archer reports that McClay just got a two-year extension of his contract.
So why does McClay stay in Dallas with no chance at ascending to the general manager position? It could be multiple reasons. He might feel he has enough power over personnel to satisfy his ambitions. Of course Jerry has the last word, but behind the scenes it could be that McClay makes most of the decisions. It could also be money, maybe Jerry is giving him righteous bucks. It could be loyalty, he’s been in the Cowboys organization since 2002. Or it might just be, as my colleague DannyPhantom says: He’s awesome and he loves it in Dallas. He’s got unfinished business to do.
Indeed, Cowboys fans should feel lucky that McClay is in Dallas, he has done a remarkable job of finding useful pieces that others have cast off, and he’s done a pretty good job in the draft.
Since 2014, the Cowboys have drafted four players that have made the Pro Bowl -- Zack Martin, DeMarcus Lawrence, Ezekiel Elliott and Dak Prescott -- and 14 players who start or play key roles.
With the Cowboys opting to stay out of the chase for big-name free agents, they have to draft well and develop players. According to Pro Football Focus, the Cowboys had the third-most “homegrown” snaps played in the league last season with 16,808. The Cincinnati Bengals were No. 1 (18,559) and the Green Bay Packers (17,018) were No. 2.
This extension should take the worry out of the next couple of offseasons, as McClay will continue to be a defacto general manager in Dallas.