The Sean Payton rumors are not going anywhere, but the Dallas Cowboys could have other options with the legendary coach likely turning to the broadcast booth for the time being. While head coach Mike McCarthy indicated it is business as usual in Big D, owner Jerry Jones admitted he has “a lot to think about” when it comes to the future of the current coaching staff.
This means plenty of rumors for potential replacement options for the Cowboys. Bleacher Report’s Kristopher Knox made a list of the top-three candidates to replace McCarthy with a surprising addition: Michigan head coach Jim Harbaugh.
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The former 49ers coach has a great knowledge of the NFL and appears to be at least flirting with coming back to the NFL with the Raiders as one potential suitor. Could Jones try to intercept Harbaugh’s potential move to Las Vegas?
“Jim Harbaugh is another long shot because he’s under contract with the Michigan Wolverines,” Knox detailed on January 24. “…The Cowboys have the offensive and defensive talent to give Harbaugh that opportunity.
“What makes Harbaugh an attractive option is the quick success he found in his last NFL sting. When he joined the San Francisco 49ers in 2011, he immediately turned San Francisco into a contender. The 49ers went 6-10 the year before hiring Harbaugh. They went 13-3 and reached the NFC title game in his first season. In Harbaugh’s second season, he took the 49ers to the Super Bowl.
“Harbaugh coached San Francisco to three NFC title games in his four years with the team before returning to college. The Cowboys haven’t reached the NFC Championship Game since the 1995 season.”
Harbaugh Would Accept the Raiders Head Coaching Job: Report
The Athletic’s Bruce Feldman reported Harbaugh’s Michigan colleagues believe the longtime coach would accept the Raiders job, if offered. If Jones wants to make a run at Harbaugh, the Cowboys owner may be too late.
“Harbaugh, who has a long friendship with owner Mark Davis, started his coaching career with the team in 2003,” Feldman explained on January 20. “He also has family ties to Las Vegas, which is where he met his wife.
“Multiple sources inside Michigan football told The Athletic this week that they think if Harbaugh is offered the Raiders head coaching job, he’d take it.
“They also know that Harbaugh can be hard to read. Their hunches could be wrong — but they also know he’s never coached anywhere longer than four years prior to his seven years and running in Ann Arbor. They’ve each believed that he, at some point, would want to coach in the NFL again.”
The Case for Harbaugh as the Next Cowboys Head Coach
Harbaugh may be a bit prickly to work with, but it is hard to argue with the coach’s resume. Aside from recently leading Michigan to the College Football Playoff, the 49ers went 44-19 during Harbaugh’s four seasons in the Bay Area. This included three straight double-digit win seasons.
Harbaugh went 8-5 in the postseason with the Niners, including a run to the Super Bowl during the 2012 season. As an added bonus, Harbaugh is a former NFL quarterback who could help with Dak Prescott’s development. All of this should indeed give Jones “a lot to think about.”
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