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Dallas Cowboys insider: Dan Quinn ‘wants to be a head coach again’

Conversation continues to swirl around the future of Dan Quinn.

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

Death, taxes and Dallas Cowboys defensive coordinator Dan Quinn interviewing for head coaching opportunities. This obviously has not been the case for all too long, but it has for about a thousand days now as Quinn has fielded all sorts of interest across the NFL since his first season in Dallas back in 2021 (the arrival of Micah Parsons coincidentally coincides with that). As the Cowboys prepare for their Wild Card matchup against the Green Bay Packers, and the offseason looms (hopefully a long time from now), it appears that Quinn will once again interview with at least a couple of organizations.

You can track all of the teams who have requested to speak with Quinn (and Will McClay) right here, and while that is in no way the priority of the moment, it remains a thing that will have to be addressed at some point in time. The Cowboys have been able to lure Quinn back after each of the last two seasons, but can they really land the hat trick there?

Dan Quinn ‘wants to be a head coach again’ which is hardly shocking

Unlike a lot of the names connected to head coach openings currently - Ben Johnson, Bobby Slowik, etc. - Quinn has been a head coach before. Quinn presided over the Atlanta Falcons from 2015 through a bit of the 2020 season when he was dismissed. In that time the Falcons were wildly successful and even reached a Super Bowl (defeating Mike McCarthy’s Green Bay Packers in the NFC Championship Game, funny enough) which they infamously lost.

Atlanta has been trying to find their way ever since, and while that is a different matter, it represents that he is obviously good at being a head coach and therefore would likely be good if the opportunity presented itself to him again in the future. Of course, part of what helped Quinn in Atlanta was the presence of a franchise quarterback in Matt Ryan and given how unlikely it is that he would get a third opportunity to run a team, it makes sense that Quinn would be rather picky about who he wants to hitch his wagon to. That may be why we have seen him walk away from opportunities in the recent past (the Chicago Bears and Denver Broncos did not exactly scream stability).

Part of what makes playoff runs like the one that Dallas is beginning so precious is that you never return the exact same team. Change is inevitable across the roster and for that matter across the coaching staff. While Dallas has retained Quinn in each of the last two offseasons, the third is not guaranteed. As ESPN’s Todd Archer noted recently, Quinn definitely wants to be a head coach again.

The Carolina Panthers have requested an interview with Quinn, who has been up for jobs each of the past two years. Jerry Jones adjusted Quinn’s contract, per sources, but Quinn wants to be a head coach again. If the right opportunity presents itself, Jones might be hard-pressed to convince Quinn to stay.

At the moment there are six head coach vacancies in the NFL: Carolina Panthers, Las Vegas Raiders, Los Angeles Chargers, Atlanta Falcons, Washington Commanders and Tennessee Titans. So far the Panthers, Chargers and Commanders specifically have requested to meet with Quinn.

Of that entire field it is undeniable that the Chargers carry the most potential stability with Justin Herbert already in place for whoever arrives, in the the same way that Quinn walked into the Ryan situation in Atlanta. As for the the others there are all sorts of questions about the rosters in general but namely the quarterback position which is, um, sort of important.

One would imagine that this would help boost odds that Quinn would stay. Serving as the defensive coordinator of the Cowboys with the aforementioned Micah Parsons leading the way keeps his name in the conversation on an annual basis as evidenced by, well, literally every year that he has been a part of the program.

What’s more is that it does not seem like Quinn’s name is one of the hotter ones on the market. In addition to Johnson and Slowik, other would-be candidates like Mike McDonald and Jim Harbaugh figure to be potential seat-takers, not to mention Mike Vrabel who was dismissed by Tennessee on Tuesday. Oh, and Bill Belichick might soon be an option, too.

The “right opportunity” is such an important thing to have line up, but getting opportunities is never a guarantee in general. We will see if Quinn feels like the grains of sand in the hourglass of opportunity are ticking down too low for his liking or if he is comfortable rolling the dice on a fourth season in Dallas.

Update: 2:30pm ET

The right opportunity may have just come up.

It was reported on Wednesday that Pete Carroll will no longer be the head coach of the Seattle Seahawks, he may remain involved with the organization in some way, but we all know what this means.

All of the major insiders noted that Dan Quinn is a strong candidate to become the next Seahawks head coach.

So it begins.

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