Twice this year, Cowboys owner Jerry Jones has insisted that coach Jason Garrett would be in high demand, if he were on the open market. Meanwhile, Garrett is 10 regular-season games away from getting to the open market.
So the obvious question becomes why haven’t the Cowboys extended Garrett’s contract? That’s the best way to keep Garrett from leaving, if/when other teams are inclined to pursue him in January 2020.
In January, Jones talked up the coach that he had under contract for one more season.
“If Jason Garrett had been out on the market two weeks ago, he would’ve had five offers for head coaching,” Jones said. “I know that.”
On Tuesday, Jones did it again.
“He’s had a lot of years that he’s been a part of the Cowboys and he evolved into what, I think, is a top coach,” Jones said. “He would be a very sought after coach if he were out here in the open market.”
But would he be? Garrett became a free agent in early 2015, after the #DezCaughtIt game in the divisional round of the playoffs. Seven jobs were open that year. The Falcons waited until after the Super Bowl to hire then-Seahawks defensive coordinator Dan Quinn. Other hires were John Fox in Chicago, Rex Ryan in Buffalo, Todd Bowles with the Jets, Gary Kubiak in Denver, Jack Del Rio in Oakland, and Jim Tomsula in San Francisco.
Garrett, who everyone knew was entering the last year of his contract, never had his name come up in connection with any of those vacancies.
Five years later, what has changed? Garrett’s team went 4-12 in 2015, 13-3 in 2016, 9-7 in 2017, and 10-6 in 2018. The Cowboys made it to the playoffs twice, losing both times in the divisional round. While not horrible, it’s not Lombardieqsue.
“Everybody is aware that we’re on the last year of his agreement,” Jones said Tuesday. “But that really just means that we can all sit down and take a look at things at the end of the year.”
At the end of the year, however, Garrett can walk away. Or he can use the leverage that comes from having other teams want him to get a better deal to stay.
And if Jones truly fears a land rush for Garrett’s services, there’s one way to avoid that outcome: Sign him to a new contract now. The fact that the Cowboys haven’t secured their future with Garrett shows that they have no fear that he’ll leave — and that they quite possibly may want him to.