ESPN’s Ed Werder may have just gotten the ultimate scoop on Dallas Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett’s fate.
Amid another day of kept-in-the-dark meetings and rampant speculation, the plugged-in beat writer — whose Cowboys roots span decades — reported Thursday night that Garrett “soon” will no longer be part of the organization, coach or otherwise.
The drawn-out process to oust the 53-year-old after a decade on the job was done “slowly” and with “abundance of care and respect” for Garrett, whom Cowboys owner Jerry Jones and VP Stephen Jones hold in very high regard.
Additionally, Werder reports that Dallas is expected to begin their next phase: finding the team’s new head man, a search that will be far-reaching but come together “quickly” with candidate interviews.
Werder also tackled the prevailing criticism aimed at the Joneses, who have slow-played the process to remove Garrett from his position. Some believe the feet-dragging could cost the organization its shot at a hotly-courted candidate, such as Urban Meyer or Lincoln Riley.
Evidently, this is, and has been, all part of their plan.
If Werder’s hearsay is correct, an official announcement from the Cowboys could come as early as Friday.
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Conflicting Information Emerges
Prior to Werder’s apparent news-bomb, Yahoo Sports NFL reporter Charles Robinson penned an article in which he claimed that “Garrett is operating like he’s going to be a part of the organization moving forward.”
According to multiple sources familiar with a handful of Garrett’s exit interviews, he conducted himself in the same manner as past seasons — thanking players for their contributions in 2019 and then talking about their offseason outlook. Several sources added that in some cases where players had expiring contracts, Garrett went as far as expressing that the Cowboys would have interest in the players returning in 2020.
“The interview confused [the player],” one source said. “[He] went in thinking it was going to be a goodbye and maybe he’d hear a ‘this is a business’ speech and it turned out to be more of a ‘good job’ and ‘see you later’ feeling. It’s normal to the point of being weird, given everything [he] was expecting.”
Added another source familiar with the exit interviews: “Jason is so myopic. I think he’s just doing his job like everything is normal because his contract hasn’t expired yet. He’s still under contract so he’s still doing his job like he normally would.”
As of Thursday, Garrett, whose contract technically expires on Jan. 14, reportedly had yet to conduct his full round of exit interviews with players and staff — standard operating procedure at the end of a season. He was scheduled to hold a third sitdown with the Jones family, since Sunday’s finale, but that pow-wow reportedly never took place.
NFL Network’s Jane Slater seemingly refuted Werder’s report, too, saying that no final decision has been made. Those inside the building know, but they don’t know. While Garrett’s dismissal remains the likeliest outcome, Slater implied that Werder may have jumped the gun.
‘Wild Rumor’ Emerges About Garrett, Cowboys
Well, here’s a new one, courtesy of Bleacher Report’s Matt Miller, who supposedly received a text on Thursday from an AFC executive with a “wild” proposition: “What if the Cowboys are keeping Garrett on the hook while reaching out to Lincoln Riley? If Lincoln says no, Garrett comes back.”
As far as we know, Riley, in whom Jones has admitted intrigue, is on the shortlist of favorites to succeed Garrett, if the franchise indeed goes that route. Miller’s rumor is, shall we say, interesting since Garrett and Riley share an agent. So, that’d be quite the awkward arrangement.
Follow Zack Kelberman on Twitter: @KelbermanNFL