Good or bad, McCarthy is now coaching for his career.
This means that McCarthy will enter the final year of his contract in 2024.
Jerry Jones loves to do this.
Make someone earn a new contract, he did it with Jason Garrett and is now doing it with McCarthy.
Garrett went 12-4 on his final year of his contract.
“Jerry Jones thinks that people, when challenged, do their best work”@AdamSchefter talking about why Coach Big Mike McCarthy will be coaching on the final year of his 5 year contract next year without an extension pic.twitter.com/7dUuy4QghG
— Pat McAfee (@PatMcAfeeShow) January 21, 2024
He shouldn’t even had been brought back in the first place, now it’s a weird situation.
If McCarthy wants to coach anywhere after 2024, he has to at least bring the Cowboys to an NFC title game.
If he exits the playoffs early again, and chokes, he not only will be gone from the Cowboys, but maybe from ever coaching again.
If he can’t win with the talent he has in Dallas, he is not going to go to another team and win there, it’s just facts.
Is Mike McCarthy’s contract situation motivation or lame-duck doom for Cowboys? - Reid Hanson, Cowboys Wire
The pressure is on for Mike McCarthy. Next season will reveal whether or not that is a good thing.
People generally respond well to challenges. Some produce better in rewards-based challenges while others are best when their backs are against the wall. Coaching on an expiring deal, McCarthy has a bit of both motivating factors to pick from in 2024.
The ticking clock could either spark innovation or it could move him in the opposite direction and push him into tried-and-true tactics.
Looking back, there was visible breath of relief when Kellen Moore left in 2023 and McCarthy finally received full rein of the offense. One last shot may bring on “the full McCarthy.” Or it may send him back to the drawing board, developing new wrinkles to his attack.
One thing is clear: it will replace a sense of urgency with actual urgency.
Lame duck effect
Some factors exist largely outside the coach’s control and in this situation, it’s how others respond to the coach’s tenuous status. Sensing a coach doesn’t have support of the front office can cause issues on a team.
The Cowboys locker room is regarded as supportive of McCarthy. But McCarthy is seen as a player’s coach and not a disciplinarian, so the support is expected. What happens when times get tough, and McCarthy has to be hard on players? Will the players loyally fall in line, or will his lame-duck status undermine his leadership?
Terrell Owens Rips Jerry Jones, Urges Owner To Sell ‘Poorly-Run’ Cowboys? - Mike Fisher, Sports Illustrated
Former Cowboys have not been holding their punches this offseason.
Owens believes that after three straight 12-5 seasons followed by playoff losses that changes needed to be made, “probably starting with the owner and maybe the GM,’’ he said in an appearance on 95.7 The Game’s The Morning Roast.
“With the Cowboys, honestly, I kind of expected that and that’s just me being honest,” Owens said following the playoff blowout at the hands of the Green Bay Packers.
Most people, of course, anticipated a Dallas win - thus the status as seven-point favorites. And the Cowboys themselves considered this a Super Bowl-worthy roster.
But Owens is joining many fans who think that Jones - as the one constant in 28 years of the team failing to return to its Super Bowl glory of the 1990’s - is “the’’ problem.
Owens indicates that he believes the Cowboys won’t win as long as Jones is making personnel decisions; of course, as most Cowboys fans so, this is a semi-uniformed opinion; from inside The Star, we can tell you that Jerry, 81, doesn’t really run the personnel department in a hands-on manner.
A few names that may have played their last snap in Dallas.
2. Stephon Gilmore is in his journeyman phase
FanSided’s Cody Williams wrote that Jourdan Lewis will be on his way out of Dallas this offseason. Should Stephon Gilmore follow him, the Cowboys will be down two cornerbacks.
“Cornerback is perhaps the position that will test the Cowboys front office the most in free agency this offseason. Stephon Gilmore, who the club traded for in the 2023 offseason, Jourdan Lewis and Noah Igbinoghene are all set to hit the open market this offseason,” Williams wrote. “Depth at cornerback is one of the most crucial areas of any roster, though, which is why things could be tricky for the front office.”
As Williams notes, depth at cornerback is important on any roster, especially the Cowboys. Trevon Diggs and DaRon Bland make for one of the best defensive back duos in football. Yet, Diggs missed the majority of this season with a knee injury.
Gilmore is a future Hall of Famer and formerly the best cornerback in football hands down. At this stage of his career, he’s still a capable No. 2 or No. 3 corner on a contending team. Expect organizations like the Steelers — in need a defensive back help — to pursue him hard, and perhaps overpay if necessary.
Safe to say the 2023 draft was not the front office’s finest work.
1. Mazi Smith, DL — Grade: C-
It was a tough rookie year for the athletic freak out of Michigan. Mazi Smith was active for all 17 games for the Cowboys, but how active was he really?
He finished the year with 13 total tackles, three tackles for loss, three QB hits, and a sack. The NFL is anything but an exact science, but for Smith to be drafted at a clear position of need for Dallas and only play 28 percent of the team’s snaps? That’s not what anyone wanted at all.
I am giving this pick a grade of C- because you have to have some patience, and I don’t think Smith is a bad player. It’s also tough to pick players late in round one, and not everyone is going to win Rookie of the Year. However, this pick gets a bit of a knock considering the Cowboys were clearly in the market for a tight end, and they had Sam LaPorta staring them right in the face here.
Unfortunately, LaPorta landed a handful of picks later with Detroit, and put together one of the best rookie years for a tight end in league history.
Hankins is one name Dallas will have to decide on this offseason.
“I think I brought some good value to this team,” Hankins said. “I think being on a team, in an organization like this, I still got something left in the tank. To have the year that I had in year 11, I’m still playing at a high level and still getting the job done.”
“I still feel like I got unfinished business, still have goals I want to achieve. The goal of mine is to get to the Super Bowl, and I would love for it to be here [in Dallas].”
Hankins said that he contemplated retirement last offseason, citing wanting to be around his family more with his daughter turning two-years-old, but the opportunity in Dallas gave him another charge on the back half of his career.
“Going into that offseason last year, to be honest I wasn’t sure if I wanted to continue playing,” he said. “My daughter was turning two at the time and I was feeling like I really needed to be around my family. It was challenging…Bringing in the young guys like Mazi, being with Law, Micah, DA, Osa…to me, it really lit another fire under me.”
The retirement thoughts still linger this offseason, but Hankins sounds confident in his ability to play at a high level and in his passion towards getting to his ultimate goal.
“Is this the last time you’re gonna see Big Hank? I don’t think so,” Hankins said. “After speaking with the Cowboys, speaking with Mike [McCarthy] and the staff, obviously I’m still playing at a high level and I want to continue to play.”
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