After potential back-to-back 12-win seasons for the Dallas Cowboys, the franchise could still fire Mike McCarthy. This surprising rumor comes courtesy of The Athletic’s Dianni Russini. The NFL insider reported that there is a growing buzz that the Cowboys could move on from McCarthy if the team suffers another early exit in the NFL playoffs.
“The Cowboys can clinch the NFC East and lock in the NFC’s No. 2 seed with a win Sunday against the 14-point underdog Commanders in Washington,” Russini detailed in a January 6, 2024 article titled, “Russini: What I’m hearing about the NFL coaching carousel entering Week 18.” “Though Dallas fans shouldn’t be worried about a Washington team led by Sam Howell, they can’t overlook the Commanders. This is where the Patriots come in.
“In 2019, the Patriots were 14-point favorites over the Dolphins at home, looking to lock up the AFC East against a Miami team with not much to play for. But New England lost, then hosted a wild-card game against the Tennessee Titans the next week. It lost that game, too, and Tom Brady never played for the Patriots again,” Russini added. “According to a league source, the message to the Cowboys this week was, ‘We can’t squander the No. 2 seed.’
“If that happens? I would add Mike McCarthy to my list of coaches in trouble.”
Cowboys Rumors: Will Dallas Take a Swing at Bill Belichick or Jim Harbaugh?
The reasonable question to ask is who the Cowboys would hire if the team were to fire McCarthy. Dallas would be wise to evaluate potential candidates compared to McCarthy before making a drastic move. Could the Cowboys go big-game hunting by targeting a veteran coach like Jim Harbaugh or Bill Belichick?
Sports Illustrated’s Albert Breer suggested the Cowboys as a possible landing spot for the Patriots coach. This would be a bit more complicated than Harbaugh as New England could look to trade Belichick rather than fire the legendary coach.
“The Chargers make the most football sense,” Breer noted in a January 5 article titled, “With Bill Belichick at the Center, the NFL Coaching Carousel Is About to Begin.” “The Panthers and Dallas Cowboys might have the owners motivated to take a swing.
“The Raiders have some connection there, too (Mark Davis’s dad almost hired Belichick in 1999), but it’s hard to see them going back to the Patriots well. Which, of course, illustrates how the list of suitors, if Belichick’s out in New England and determined to coach elsewhere, probably won’t be very long.”
Mike McCarthy May Be Coaching for His Dallas Cowboys Job, Says Insider
Publicly, owner Jerry Jones has praised McCarthy and his success with adding offensive play-calling duties to his head coaching plate. Yet, Breer added that McCarthy could be coaching for his job in the NFL playoffs.
“Most folks would tell you Mike McCarthy has had a really good year in Dallas,” Breer added. “But count this as another year during which he probably needs to look good in the playoffs to be safe, especially with the prospect that Dan Quinn could actually bolt (Chargers? Seahawks, if Pete Caroll were to retire?) this time around.”
Jones showed a great deal of patience with the Cowboys previous head coach in Jason Garrett. Unless Dallas has a complete meltdown in the coming weeks, it is hard to imagine McCarthy will not return for 2024. Yet, Jones could be tempted if someone like Belichick suddenly becomes available.