It’s anyone’s guess as to what Jason Garrett’s head coaching future is with the Dallas Cowboys beyond the 2019 season since his current contract expires after this year. Personally, I think he has a 50-50 chance of returning after this season. I know that’s not the news a lot of Cowboys Nation wants to hear right now, but that’s the best I can give you.
I’m personally still on the fence about JG, but since we’re still pretty much still in the bye week with only the Dallas Cowboys next opponent (New York Giants) to talk about, I thought I’d take the time to do a little research to look for potential replacements. The Cowboys would like to find their next Sean McVay, as would the rest of the NFL, so I tried to stick to the young, up-and-coming candidates.
It’s unknown whether or not Jerry Jones would prefer a offensive or defensive minded HC, so I tried to mix in a little of both. Below is the list of potential Jason Garrett replacements I came up with…
Collegiate Head Coach Candidates
Lincoln Riley, Oklahoma – There may not be a more coveted coach in the NFL or NCAA right now for an organization looking for their next head coach than Lincoln Riley. Despite just being 36, he has already coached two Heisman winning quarterbacks and is considered one of the better offensive gurus in the game today, at any level. It would take some doing, but the Dallas Cowboys could be the one to lure him to the NFL.
Matt Rhule, Baylor – Matt Rhule has a little bit of coaching experience in the NFL already, albeit just one year as the New York Giants Assistant OL Coach in 2012, but he has received interest from teams in the league here recently. He interviewed with the Colts two years ago and the Jets last January for the HC position, but nothing ever materialized there. He could be a highly sought after HC candidate once again, especially after Baylor’s 7-0 start this year.
Matt Campbell, Iowa State – Matt Campbell is a relatively unknown commodity for most people, but I promise you that’s not the case in NFL circles. He was someone also of interest to the Jets last year much like Matt Rhule for their vacant HC position. He doesn’t have the same kind of coaching or playing pedigree as some of these other candidates, but he’s well known as a culture builder with a good offensive mind and his ability to relate/connect with anyone.
Coaches With Ties to Cowboys
Cowboys Passing Game Coordinator/DB Coach, Kris Richard – Kris Richard will no doubt be a hot name for teams looking for the next head coach. The Cowboys managed to keep Richard around after the 2018 season, but may not be able to hold off suitors after this year. If they want to keep him around they may have to give him Jason Garrett’s job. Cowboys Nation seems to love him already as does his players.
Cowboys OC Kellen Moore – For Kellen Moore it would be like a game of leapfrog to go from backup QB to head coach in the NFL in a span of four years. Regardless though, he’s going to become a HC in the league sooner rather than later, so why not with the Dallas Cowboys? He’s already familiar with the organization and roster, so it could be a seamless transition. It’s a long shot, but stranger things have happened.
Saints Assistant HC/TE Coach, Dan Campbell – Dan Campbell not only spent a few years with the Dallas Cowboys (2003-2005) in his 10 year NFL career, but has also put together a pretty impressive resume as a coach in the league. He even has some HC experience as an intern with the Miami Dolphins. He’s interviewed for several HC jobs over the past few years and should continue to be on the short list of a lot of teams.
Up-and-Coming Assistant Coaches
Jaguars OC John DeFilippo – It wasn’t that long ago John DeFilippo was considered one of the next up-and-coming head coach candidates in the NFL. Unfortunately, he had what could only be described as a fall from grace as the Minnesota Vikings OC in 2018. It was obviously a bad fit with the Vikings, because he’s exceeding everyones expectations with the Jaguars and doing it with a backup QB, rookie sixth-round draft pick Garner Minshew. His name will definitely resurface for an HC opening.
Rams Pass Game Coordinator/QB coach, Shane Waldron – The Sean McVay circle continues to grow and Shane Waldron will be a beneficiary at some point like his coaching counterparts before him. Both he and Zac Taylor interviewed for the Bengals HC opening last year. After Taylor was hired Waldron was promoted into Taylor’s vacated position with the Rams. He could be looking at another promotion as a HC as soon as 2020.
Vikings OC Kevin Stefanski – Kevin Stefanski took over for John DeFilippo as the Vikings OC last year and did an impressive enough job to receive not one, but two interviews to become the Browns HC. He may just be 37, but he’s quickly becoming a known commodity around the NFL and could be highly sought after for an opening HC position. He is known as being levelheaded and has the Vikings offense clicking so well he should receive quite a few interviews as a result.
Under the Radar Candidates
Colts OC Nick Sirianni – Nick Sirianni (38) has been a trusted assistant of Colts HC Frank Reich dating back to their days in San Diego together. He has an excellent reputation around the league and is known as someone with a good offensive mind who holds his players accountable. He has also proven he knows how to roll with the punches after Andrew Luck unexpectedly retired before the start of the 2019 season. He turned down the opportunity to interview for the Brown’s HC job last year when the Colts were in the playoffs, but won’t likely do so again this year. He could be in high demand.
49ers DC Robert Saleh – Robert Saleh has become a viral sensation as the 49ers defensive coordinator this season. His energetic sideline antics are getting a lot of attention, but that shouldn’t take away from the way he has the defense firing on all cylinders. His creative blitzes and third-down looks are absolutely wreaking havoc on opposing offenses. He’s learned from some of the best in the business (Gary Kubiak, Pete Carroll, Gus Bradley, Kyle Shanahan) and it could pay off in an HC job as soon as next year.
Bills OC Brian Daboll – If the Dallas Cowboys or any other team searching for their next HC are looking for a candidate with a winning pedigree, they couldn’t do any worse than Brian Daboll. He has five Super Bowl wins under his belt as an assistant with the Patriots and a national title on Nick Sabin’s staff at Alabama. If that’s not impressive enough, what he’s been able to do with second-year QB Josh Allen and the Bills talent deprived offense should be. If Buffalo can continue to stay hot he could become an intriguing HC candidate.