PITTSBURGH - DECEMBER 7: Offensive Coordinator Jason Garrett of the Dallas Cowboys looks on from the sideline during their NFL game against the Pittsburgh Steelers on December 7, 2008 at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The Steelers defeated the Cowboys 20-13. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
With Wade Phillips inked to a two-year extension through the 2011 season, offensive coordinator Jason Garrett remains in a familiar place, the same spot, basically, in which he's been standing since the end of the 2007 season: waiting in line.
Jerry Jones, in a much debatable move, told Garrett he'd be the next head coach of the Dallas Cowboys at the end of that year. He may indeed still be; but it's looking increasingly likely that, if the succession does happen, it won't be for quite some time. Two years, as Jones said today, is an eternity in the NFL, which, barring the unforeseen, will mean that Garrett will have to choose between an eternity and an early departure from Dallas.
Of course, the redheaded coordinator says he's happy, publicly. But the meteoric rise of his stock two years ago (Detailed by Mr. Josh Alper recently) as compared to his status now, his fall so to speak, is enough to make one wonder if he wouldn't jump at the first opportunity.
The only trouble now is that the opportunities, with a possible stoppage looming in 2011, have dried up. Two years can indeed be an NFL eternity, and as Alper argues, no one knows that better than the young coordinator. Neither the Bills or the Seahawks contacted Garrett about their head coaching vacancy before hiring Chan Gailey and Pete Carroll, respectively. Nor has Al Davis come calling about what may or may not soon be a coaching vacancy in Oakland--but we'll disqualify that for the sake of argument, as no one, Davis included, seems to know what's going on there.
Under Garrett, the highest paid assistant in football at $3 million a year, Dallas ranked second in the league in terms of total offense in 2009, but certain "no-shows" so to speak (see the first Washington game) along with the aforementioned concerns over a stoppage have made him an apparently less intriguing head coaching option.
The winner in all this, if there is one, is the team.
They seem to believe that Garrett can be an elite coordinator--and, eventually, head coach--and there is some evidence, albeit somewhat inconsistent, to back it up. Two years ago, they may have been forced to pull the trigger or risk losing Garrett; now, Garrett's star has fallen. And the Cowboys, their options for the future currently in tact, likely stand to benefit.