Cowboys Give Mike McCarthy Answer, Make Decision on Sean Payton: Report

Mike McCarthy Sean Payton

Getty Mike McCarthy's job with the Cowboys appears to be safe for now, despite the Sean Payton rumors.

The Dallas Cowboys are getting the band back together despite weeks of rumors that the team would lose both their coordinators and fire Mike McCarthy. USA Today’s Jori Epstein reported that McCarthy will once again be the Cowboys head coach in 2022 and was given “assurance” after ex-Saints coach Sean Payton stepped away from New Orleans.

“The Cowboys have assured Mike McCarthy he will remain their head coach in 2022,” Epstein detailed on January 27. “The assurance came as early as in conversations after the Cowboys’ 23-17 wild-card loss to the San Francisco 49ers and as recently as this week after Saints coach Sean Payton announced he was stepping down, a person with knowledge of the conversations told USA TODAY Sports. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to publicly disclose the information.

“So as questions have externally swirled about McCarthy’s job security, internally the Cowboys coach has been ‘focusing on exit interviews and evaluations of players and staff,’ the person said.”

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All Signs Point to the Cowboys Getting Back Moore & Quinn for 2022

Defensive coordinator Dan Quinn and offensive coordinator Kellen Moore had been linked to jobs across the NFL. Despite both coaches interviewing with multiple teams, all signs point to both being back with the Cowboys next season.

NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero reported Quinn informed the Cowboys that he would be returning as defensive coordinator. Quinn had been a favorite to land the Broncos head coaching job before the team ultimately turned to former Packers offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett.

“Dan Quinn has informed teams that he’s staying with the Cowboys, per sources,” Pelissero detailed in a January 27 tweet. “Six teams requested head-coaching interviews with Quinn, who decided he wanted to return to Dallas and try to win a Super Bowl. He should be a hot name again next year.”

The news comes two days after Pro Football Network’s Aaron Wilson reported that Moore was not expected to be offered one of the NFL head coaching vacancies and will be back in Dallas for 2022.

Jones: ‘A Lot to Think About Regarding These Coaches’

As for McCarthy, rumors about his future started to swirl after CBS Sports Jason LaCanfora reported prior to the Cowboys’ disappointing elimination loss to the 49ers that owner Jerry Jones could consider promoting Quinn or Moore if the team underachieved in the postseason. Then came the Cowboys’ debacle to close the game which added fuel to the fire.

Jones did not help matters by failing to provide clarity on McCarthy’s future during a January 21 interview with Dallas’ 105.3 the Fan. The Cowboys owner hinted that changes to the coaching staff was on the table and admitted he had a “lot to think about regarding these coaches.”

“Well, I haven’t completed my overall evaluation, and I don’t have any idea when I will complete my overall evaluation, but there are a lot of moving parts here,” Jones told Dallas’ 105.3 the Fan during a January 21 interview. “As you know, we have 29 coaches. It’s not uncommon at all for coaching members of coaching staff to come and go. This is par for the course, that’s the NFL today.

“As a matter of fact, we have rules in place that, whether you’re ready to consider that at a position or not, somebody else under certain circumstances can call and interview your coach. Don’t necessarily agree with that, but that’s what I’ve signed on for, and so this is not uncommon.

“And so, I won’t be getting to any statements about evaluations or statements about actions relative to those evaluations. I won’t be getting to that for probably several weeks.”

Payton Rumors Are Not Going Anywhere

It is unclear the order of operations as to whether the Cowboys realized they had no chance to land Payton this season, or if they gave McCarthy confirmation before even reaching out to the ex-Saints coach. ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported that Payton had no plans to coach next season, and Payton himself noted on the Dan Patrick Show on January 27 that he had not heard from the Cowboys.

Payton may not physically be present on the Cowboys sideline next season, but the rumors are sure to resurface, especially if the team has a slow start. After years of being linked to a return to Dallas, the Payton rumors are sure to intensify now that he is no longer with the Saints.

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