It appears the Jason Garrett era in Dallas is coming to a close, and for many of us - that’s a chance at a clean slate. The roster of the Cowboys is still loaded with a lot of young stars, so despite such a big change - this is far from a rebuild. Whomever takes over the reins of this team inherits a talented group of players who should be right in the thick of things in 2020.
While there are many different names circulating around as potential replacements, it’s hard to figure out which direction Jerry Jones is going to go. Is he going to risk it with a hot college coach or is he going to take a former NFL coach who is already familiar with the game at the pro level?
We may not know who the next coach will be, but we should be able to get a rough estimate of when this big change will all go down. Using information from last season, we can paint a picture mapping out the sequence of events that took place. Eight teams replaced their head coach this past year, and here is the timeline for when their old coach was fired:
- 10/29 - Hue Jackson, Cleveland Browns
- 12/2 - Mike McCarthy, Green Bay Packers
- 12/30 - Todd Bowles, New York Jets
- 12/30 - Dirk Koetter, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
- 12/31 - Marvin Lewis, Cincinnati Bengals
- 12/31 - Vance Joseph, Denver Broncos
- 12/31 - Adam Gase, Miami Dolphins
- 12/31 - Steve Wilks, Arizona Cardinals
Hue Jackson and Mike McCarthy both were fired in-season as both teams went with interim coaches Gregg Jackson (Browns) and Joe Philbin (Packers) to finish out the season.
Black Monday fell on New Year’s Eve last year which is when half of the coaches were fired. The Jets and Buccaneers both got a jump on their firings as they let their coaches go on the Sunday before Black Monday. So as you can see, there is no lollygagging. Owners move swiftly as every single coach received his papers no later than the Monday following the end of the regular season.
In Garrett’s case, he’s not going to be fired as his contract is up and he simply won’t be extended. And considering the strong relationship between Garrett and Jones, his exit should be a lot more cordial with plenty of smiles and showing of gratitude from both sides. Even still, the team must move forward and it shouldn’t take much time to make the announcement.
But when should we expect the Cowboys to name his replacement?
The answer to that question depends on the direction the team decides to go. If they go after a college coach or a coordinator/assistant of a current NFL team that didn’t make the postseason, then the announcement should come soon. Six of the eight new head coaches were announced prior to the divisional playoff round.
- 1/7 - Matt LaFleur, Green Bay Packers, former offensive coordinator of the Tennessee Titans.
- 1/8 - Bruce Arians, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, former head coach of the Arizona Cardinals after taking the 2018 season off.
- 1/8 - Kliff Kingsbury, Arizona Cardinals, former head coach of Texas Tech.
- 1/9 - Vic Fangio, Denver Broncos, former defensive coordinator of the Chicago Bears.
- 1/11 - Adam Gase, New York Jets, former head coach of the Miami Dolphins.
- 1/12 - Freddie Kitchens, Cleveland Browns, promoted from offensive coordinator.
As for the final two head coaches, they were poached from last year’s Super Bowl teams so their announcements weren’t made until February.
- 2/4 - Zac Taylor, Cincinnati Bengals, former quarterbacks coach of the Los Angeles Rams.
- 2/4 - Brian Flores, Miami Dolphins, former linebackers coach of the New England Patriots.
If the Cowboys go after a hot college coach like Lincoln Riley, then expect them to move fast as teams try to covet the next big thing from the collegiate ranks. If they go after a former head coach like Ron Rivera, that also could happen relatively quick. But if they are targeting a current coordinator/assistant like Josh McDaniels, that’s going to have to wait until the Patriots season ends which could be all the way into February.
What could throw a wrench in all this is if the Cowboys make it into the playoffs as they’ll miss out on the first crop of new coach hires. Unless Jerry Jones has already been talking behind the scenes and has some sort of gentleman’s agreement, a prolonged season involving a playoff appearance only hurts their chances to land one of the higher-demand coaches on the market.