Jason Garrett isn’t going anywhere anytime soon.
Owner Jerry Jones has invested eight full seasons in him as a head coach and more than $40 million, if you count Garrett’s three seasons as offensive coordinator.
If Garrett is going to lead a team to a championship, Jones wants it to be the Cowboys.
“If Jason Garrett was on the market two weeks ago, he would’ve had five offers for head coach," Jones said Tuesday on his weekly radio show. "I know that.”
Jones doesn’t seem to have the same confidence that play-caller Scott Linehan can help the Cowboys win a title.
That should come as no surprise because the Cowboys’ offense was a disaster for much of the season.
Dallas finished 22nd in the NFL in points (21.2) and yards (343.8).
Six times the Cowboys failed to gain 300 yards in a game; they went 2-4 in those games. Seven times, Dallas failed to score more than 20 points; they went 1-6 in those games.
Jones has been adamant Garrett will return; he has been ambiguous about Linehan’s status.
Linehan has been on the Cowboys’ staff for six seasons, including the past five years as offensive coordinator.
“There's nothing official. I reserve the right to change my mind when I hang this phone up,” Jones said on his weekly radio show. “Why would I put a statement out when we might have an opportunity next week?"
The Senior Bowl takes place next week.
It’s like a coaching flea market as just about every NFL team sends its coaching staff to Mobile, Ala., to study most of the draft’s top players. It’s a great place for general managers and head coaches to interview assistant coaches.
“This is the time when these things are thought about,” Jones said on his show. “This is the time when you may see an opportunity next week that you didn't know existed next week, in the area of personnel or the area of coaching."
Now, contrast what Jones said about Linehan with what he said about passing game defensive coordinator Kris Richard.
“I'm very positive about the future with Kris Richard. I think he's going to be an outstanding coach in the NFL,” Jones said on his radio show. “I feel good about Kris Richard and the future with him. I'm going to be with him whether I'm playing against him or with him."
Notice the difference?
Jones’ attitude begs the question whether Garrett has contractual authority to hire and fire assistant coaches.
“You know, like with everything they’re all collaborative decisions,” Garrett said. “I do not own the team. Jerry Jones owns the team.
“Ultimately, he has final say over everything we do here, but I do believe our relationship is very collaborative. I have a tremendous amount of faith and trust in him, and hopefully he has the same for me.
“We talk about all the decisions we make, any player, any coach, and we come to conclusions we both feel good about.”
Players play for contracts all of the time.
Jones should tell Garrett that if he wants to keep Linehan as his play-caller then they will each go into the last year of their deals without extensions.
If Garrett wants to hire a new play-caller, then Jones should give him an extension that matches the play-caller’s deal.
After all, no quality play-caller wants to join a team where the coach is in the final year of his contract.
“I feel very good about what Scott Linehan did for us,” Garrett said. “We’ll have conversations about everybody as we go here the next few days.
“We’ll make a lot of decisions to put the staff together and put the team together as we go.”
But the biggest involves whether Linehan returns for another year.