Retaining Will McClay High Atop the Cowboys' Priority List

Will McClay wants to be a GM, the dude making all the final decisions, one day.

But he’s in no hurry.

He’s waiting for the perfect opportunity with the right salary-cap situation and roster. And yes, he’d prefer to have a young quarterback in place.

Until then, he’s perfectly happy being the vice president of pro personnel for the Cowboys.

The Cowboys gave him a raise and new title last year when San Francisco wanted to talk to him about being their general manager. The recently-filled New York Giants job never interested him, probably because quarterback Eli Manning is an old quarterback and their salary cap situation is jacked up.

The Cleveland Browns’ general manager’s job would’ve intrigued him because of their immense salary-cap space and plethora of high draft choices. The Browns have picks 1, 4, 33, 35, 60 and 65 in the first three rounds.

Understand, McClay is in no hurry to leave. 

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Houston, though, is an intriguing spot because the roster is good and there is elite talent on both sides of the ball with defensive ends J.J. Wilcox and Jadeveon Clowney.

They have a solid salary cap situation and stable ownership is stable.

Quarterback Deshaun Watson was the talk of the league before a knee injury ruined his rookie season, which could be appealing. Coach Bill O’Brien has done a solid job in four seasons, but has reportedly clashed with former general manager Rick Smith.

McClay might not want to deal with that. Or, he might prefer a situation where he gets to choose his coach from the start.

Houston owns a place in McClay’s heart because that’s where he grew up. He graduated from Rice, and his mom and brother still reside there. Family is so important to McClay that years ago, he left job with the Jacksonville Jaguars to get back to Texas and closer to home.

The Texans’ job is intriguing but ultimately it’s not good enough to lure him from Dallas.

After all, he has a great job.

He gets credit for every good draft pick and owner/general Jerry Jones gets all the blame for any pick that doesn’t work out. McClay has never been a self promoter so he doesn’t need a ton of credit as long as the folks at The Star show him love regularly.

His importance goes beyond making good picks. He’s a conduit between coaches and scouts who’s focused solely on making sure the Cowboys take the best player possible.

The Cowboys’ scouting department uses a consensus grading system to rank players. if there’s a disagreement about a players’ rank, McClay will watch additional video of the player for as long as it takes to put a grade on him that every player, coach and scout in the organization agrees with.

McClay put the system in place after the scouts ranked former Florida defensive tackle Sharrif Floyd among the top defensive tackles in the draft but defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli didn’t think he was quick enough to play well in his scheme.

That would’ve been fine except the Cowboys didn’t find that out until draft day. McClay fixed the system and helped unite the coaching and scouting departments.

The good thing about McClay is that he understands his worth and value to the Cowboys. He’s not interested in having a title just for the sake of having a title.

More important, Jerry and Stephen Jones know how important he is to their operation. If money is all that it takes to keep McClay, then the Cowboys will give him another raise.

That’s a lot more convenient than finding someone to run the draft.

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