Mike McCarthy has received assurance from the Cowboys that he will remain the head coach in 2022, Jori Epstein of USA Today reports.
That means Sean Payton won’t be the Cowboys’ head coach in 2022. It also means McCarthy will go into 2022 on the hottest of hot seats in the NFL with Payton potentially available in a trade for 2023.
According to Epstein, McCarthy initially received word he would return immediately after the 23-17 upset loss to the 49ers in the wild-card round. He received another vote of confidence this week after Payton stepped away from the Saints.
Payton and Cowboys owner Jerry Jones have a close relationship dating to Payton’s three seasons as an assistant on Bill Parcells’ staff, and Payton has maintained a home in Dallas-Fort Worth. The Cowboys nearly hired Payton before the start of the 2019 season.
McCarthy, meanwhile, has come under fire in the wake of the early playoff exit, with Jones publicly expressing his displeasure with the upset loss.
Thus, many have connected the dots between Payton’s departure from the Saints and the Cowboys’ failure to return to the NFC Championship Game since 1995. Payton said in a Thursday appearance on The Dan Patrick Show that two teams had reached out through back channels to gauge his interest in coaching this season, but he said he wasn’t “looking at that path right now.”
It thus appears that any reunion with Payton and the Cowboys won’t come until 2023 at the earliest.