Jason Garrett's long trip to the head coaching job with the Cowboys began after the 2007 season when he became a candidate for several top jobs around the league.
Jerry Jones, unwilling to let the Princetonian whiz kid leave his sight, decided to give Garrett a massive raise to keep him in Dallas. It worked out well enough for everyone but Wade Phillips, so it bears watching to see if Jones makes the same move again this offseason.
Defensive coordinator Paul Pasqualoni, who oversaw a much improved unit after Phillips was sent packing, is starting to see his name pop up in coaching searches in his old stomping grounds. The former Syracuse head coach has been linked with openings at two other Big East schools recently, so it might take a Garrett-type deal to keep him in Dallas for another season.
Pasqualoni is a Connecticut native and his name has been dropped as a possible successor to Randy Edsall, who left UConn to become Maryland's new head coach hours after leading them to a one-sided Fiesta Bowl loss to Oklahoma. Pasqualoni and Edsall worked together at Syracuse, so there'd be some semblance of continuity if he got the job and he's still a familiar name to an area he recruited well while with the Orange.
The other opening is in Pittsburgh, where the kind of sober professionalism Pasqualoni offers has to be pretty appealing at this hour. The Panthers actually hired a coach a short time ago, but Mike Haywood was arrested for domestic violence on New Year's Eve and got fired by Pitt the next day. Pasqualoni was rumored as a candidate before Haywood was hired, but given low marks for being an older candidate without a particularly sexy resume. That probably looks a bit better in light of the Haywood mistake.
So, what will Double J do? The guess here is that there isn't a big raise coming Pasqualoni's way. The defense did play better under his tutelage, but they hardly played well. If he returns, great, but if he should get a better offer it isn't like the Cowboys would be losing the second coming of Doomsday.
Stay on top of the latest Dallas Cowboys news with NBCDFW.com. Foll ow NBC DFW Sports on Facebook or have breaking Cowboys news sent directly to your phone with Blue Star SMS alerts. Text "bluestar" to 622339 (NBCDFW) to subscribe to this free service.Read more about it here.