Cowboys Deal For Linehan On Coaching Carousel
Several key members of this Dallas Cowboys team - both coaches and players - entered Monday with expiring contracts now that their season is over. Here's the latest (with no presser scheduled for Tuesday night ... but click back here in this space for updates):
JASON GARRETT - The Cowboys finalized a contract extension for Garrett on Tuesday we're told is a five-year deal totaling $30 million.
Garrett inherited a 1-7 team in 2010 and led them to a 5-3 record to end the year. Then, from 2011 to 2013 Garrett began rebuilding the roster - transitioning this team from being one of the oldest in the NFL to one of the youngest in the NFL - all while remaining competitive and never finishing with a losing record. Finally, it all started to pay off this year with a 12-4 record, an NFC East championship and a playoff win. These players love Garrett and love playing for him. He is as passionate, intelligent and genuine as they come and the Cowboys are smart to lock him up.
"We've built this thing the right way over the last four years,'' Garrett said earlier Tuesday. "Absolutely, I want to be here.''
Garrett's overall record is suddenly 42-32. His owner (who could've extended Garrett last year but didn't) is suddenly so pleased that he's labeled Garrett "my Coach of the Year" in the immediate wake of Sunday's 26-21 playoff loss at Green Bay.
Jones put his money where his mouth was, and almost certainly bowed to a request from Garrett that allows him even more muscle inside Valley Ranch, as was also the case a year ago.
ROD MARINELLI - Marinelli has agreed to a three-year extension ... so he'll end up in Tampa with the Missus but only after he retires.
He turned the last-ranked defense in the NFL into a middle-of-the-pack, play-making defense - which is quite an accomplishment. He had these guys fighting harder than ever and making big plays when they needed to. It had been rumored for 12 months that Marinelli will re-unite with his pal Lovie Smith in Tampa Bay. Marinelli is very loyal to those he is close to, so this rumor is certainly a possibility.
"Rod's just done a fantastic job not only for our defense but our whole football team," Garrett said. "He made our players better. He made our coaches better. He's just a great football coach and he's a great person to have in your organization. He represents all the right things and I thought the defense played remarkably well. We had a lot of questions coming into this season and we had some injuries and at every turn that group just continued to overcome the different adversities that cropped up and handled the situations well and played very well."
Then Garrett, before Rod had re-upped, tossed a monkey wrench into any premature reports here.
"I tell Rod Marinelli on a daily basis how much I want him to stay here,'' Garrett said, and no surprise there. But here's the surprise: "He's told me he wants to stay here.''
Maybe "loyalty'' can also mean loyalty to Jones, Garrett, Tyrone Crawford, Sean Lee, Orlando Scandrick and the rest. Maybe being close to winning a Super Bowl means more than being "home,'' which Tampa represents to him.
BILL CALLAHAN - Callahan has worked wonders for this offensive line - helping turn this unit into one of the best in the NFL. Eight teams have reportedly shown interest in interviewing Callahan this offseason (though that sounds like a press release from his agent) and we can tell you definitively that he's been unhappy with his situation in Dallas. He wanted to leave last year ... and one of his bosses wanted him to leave, too. The Joneses made him work through his deal. HE handled it professionally. We think that's the end of that.
Callahan wants to call plays and that won't happen here in Dallas. He will wish to sign with another team as their offensive coordinator/play-caller. Cleveland could be a good landing spot for him; he's pals with the head coach there. The very capable Frank Pollack would then be promoted to offensive-line coach, we believe (though there will be some Tony Sparano noise). And another tidbit: Would Mark Colombo like to come out of scouting and help with the O-line?
SCOTT LINEHAN - Scott Linehan was one of the biggest reasons for the Cowboys offensive success. He helped Tony Romo have the best season of his career and gave the Cowboys a legitimate rushing attack for the first time in quite a while. Like the other assistant coaches, Linehan has rightfully received interest from several teams as well. ... though we see little sense or reason in him desiring to make a lateral move out.
With Callahan likely on his way out, we believed the Cowboys would sign Linehan to a new contract and promote him from passing-game coordinator to offensive coordinator. ... and that he would get a handsome raise to serve as part of the Garrett/Romo brotherhood. We don't know the details of the deal yet, but late Wednesday, Linehan -- without bothering to flirt with other jobs elsewhere -- did indeed re-up with the Cowboys.
WILL MCCLAY - Will McClay has had as much to do with the Cowboys turnaround as anyone. He has worked with Tom Ciskowski to overss several solid drafts over the last few years, as well as helped the team find hidden gems in free agency. He will make a fine GM candidate in the NFL one day.
We've talked to McClay personally about this and believe the Cowboys will be fortunate here, and will keep him for at least another year. (They should effort to make sure Ciskowski stays, too.) However, Jerry will never give up his GM position -- Will wants to run his own show so why shouldn't Jerry want the same for himself? -- so they won't be able to hold onto him forever.
The cool and the quality of Jason Garrett was shown on Tuesday, as in middle of HIS Cowboys contract negotiations, he was heaping praise on EVERYBODY else. He's being rewarded for his qualities; the two most key members of his staff are, too.
"I’m not worried about my future,' DeMarco Murray said on Monday. "I just lost a big game, the biggest game of my life.''
Understood. Shortly, though, the future will be here. And Cowboys standout Murray quite likely will not be. Our in-depth breakdown of the Cowboys and DeMarco and A Future Outside Of Dallas.
I am walking down a cinder-block corridor inside Lambeau Field alongside Dez Bryant, who is still in uniform but for his stocking feet. And the Dallas Cowboys receiver is politely, solemnly, mechanically retracing in slow-motion his on-field steps as he counts them down.
Read Dez and "Gimme Three Steps'' here, exclusively on CowboysHQ.com.
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