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Report: Cowboys coach Mike McCarthy believed to be safe, team has had zero contact with Sean Payton

An update of sorts on the Dallas Cowboys head coach.

NFC Divisional Playoffs - Dallas Cowboys v San Francisco 49ers Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images

It is officially the offseason for the Dallas Cowboys, and while their most recent season was successful in a lot of notable ways, the team as a whole finished shy of the conference championship game for the 27th year in a row. The ghosts of the past continue to loom large.

As far as the present, the Cowboys have spent their first week with no game to prepare for handling a few things relative to their coaching staff. On Wednesday evening, word trickled out about a handful of coaches who would not have their contracts with the team renewed, plus the possibility of Dan Quinn and/or Kellen Moore leaving for head coaching opportunities still hangs over everything.

Sunday’s loss in San Francisco was frustrating and has led to all sorts of call for change from the confines of Cowboys Nation. Practically speaking, the Cowboys cannot move on from quarterback Dak Prescott this offseason, but if they do not restructure his deal this year then they do leave the door of possibility for doing so in 2024 open. Needless to say that will be an interesting situation to monitor as we move towards the summer months.

There are no salary cap limitations when it comes to coaches in the NFL, but even so, the notion of moving on from Mike McCarthy has felt like a long shot at best. McCarthy has overseen playoff seasons in two of his three seasons with the Cowboys and put an end to all sorts of droughts (granted less important ones) throughout the 2022 season.

The Cowboys won double-digit games in back-to-back seasons, went to the playoffs in consecutive years, and won a playoff game on the road (against Tom Brady of all quarterbacks) in McCarthy’s third season. These are in no way equivalent to Lombardi trophies, but they are significant achievements for a franchise starving for the game-before-the-game.

It appears that McCarthy is safe as well.

Mike McCarthy is believed to be safe, and what’s more is the Cowboys have reportedly had zero contact with Sean Payton

Part of what makes McCarthy’s season impressive (contextually) is that it began under such duress. Not only did the Cowboys make all sorts of moves last offseason that had people wondering whether or not the season was doomed, but the shadow of a franchise favorite hovered over McCarthy at every misstep with Sean Payton stepping away from the New Orleans Saints last year.

Payton has always been tabbed to eventually re-enter the coaching profession, and this cycle has had interviews with various teams that have openings at the skipper position. Obviously the Cowboys do not have an opening but it is worth noting that according to Jane Slater they are not expected to. What’s more is that Dallas has not had any contact with Sean Payton according to Slater, although why would they have if they were not planning on moving on from McCarthy?

There have been reports across the NFL that Payton may not even wind up as a head coach this season given the teams that have openings. The last year has seen Payton connected to the likes of the Cowboys and Los Angeles Chargers, so given that neither of them need a new frontman, perhaps Payton is willing to wait this out a bit longer while sitting on the FOX set and stirring the pot every week.

While McCarthy does appear to be safe, there are a number of coaches who have not seen their contracts renewed by the team. We are tracking all of the coaching news surrounding the team (you can see that tracker right here), but these are the names as of Thursday morning:

  • Linebackers coach George Edwards
  • Running Backs coach Skip Peete
  • Defensive Line coach Leon Lett
  • Offensive Line coach Joe Philbin
  • Assistant Head Coach Rob Davis
  • Offensive Assistant Kyle Valero

Tight end coach Lunda Wells implied in an Instagram post that he would be back with the team next season.

Update: 11:18am ET

The Cowboys and Mike McCarthy released this statement about the six staffers who they are not bringing back.

Obviously anything can happen, but given that a statement has been made about these six names specifically it stands to reason that they are done for the moment. We will see.

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