The Dallas Cowboys have attempted to make it clear that the team does not plan to fire Mike McCarthy, even if things do not go as planned against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers during the Wild Card matchup. It does not appear to be posturing by Dallas as longtime Saints head coach Sean Payton does not view the Cowboys as a potential opening, per NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport.
“For the Dallas Cowboys, Mike McCarthy’s job status is always a question because, you know, [it’s] Dallas, despite the fact that he’s won 12 games,” Rapoport explained during a January 15 edition of “NFL Gameday Morning.” “Jerry Jones was on local radio this week addressing that. Could there be a change if things go horribly wrong [vs. Buccaneers]? He said, ‘No. I don’t even [want to talk about that]. No. No.’ Put this one to bed.
“And my understanding, guys, is even Sean Payton doesn’t consider this to be a potential opening. It seems Mike McCarthy is safe.”
What Would a Trade for Payton Cost the Cowboys?
If the Cowboys were to target Payton, owner Jerry Jones would need to be prepared to pay up in multiple ways. Payton is still under contract with the Saints, and the team that lands the star coach will have to orchestrate a trade with New Orleans. The Saints’ asking price for Payton starts with a first-round pick, per Rapoport.
“While there is not currently a deal in place, Rapoport reports that the Broncos appear to be willing to meet the Saints’ asking price,” NFL.com detailed on January 7. “Because Payton is still under contract with the Saints, any team would have to agree to trade compensation with New Orleans in order to hire him, and the belief is New Orleans will ask for a first-round draft pick and more, per Rapoport.
“One source described talks between the Broncos and Saints to Rapoport as an initial conversation, and the two sides are expected to continue that conversation. Rapoport noted that for the Saints to permit a team to interview Payton, they would need to know that club was prepared to meet their asking price in a trade.”
Not only will a team be giving up draft capital to land the coach, Payton is also seeking a lucrative new contract from his next team. South Florida Sun-Sentinel’s Dave Hyde reported on June 9 that the Dolphins offered Payton a $100 million deal.
Should Cowboys Fans Trust Jones’ Words?
It did not take long after Jones’ interview with 105.3 The Fan’s “Shan & RJ” on January 10 for his comments about McCarthy’s future to go viral. Jones attempted to squash any notion that the Cowboys would consider making a coaching change if Dallas played poorly against Tampa Bay.
“No. I don’t even want to – no. That’s it,” Jones said when asked about McCarthy’s future. “I don’t need to go into all the pluses or minuses, but I’ve got a lot more to evaluate Mike McCarthy on than this playoff game.”
Yet, Cowboys fans would be wise not to take Jones’ comments at face value. Just this season, Jones predicted a major trade and the signing of Odell Beckham Jr. with neither scenario ultimately taking place. If the Cowboys lay an egg in Tampa, it would not be a surprise if Jones changes his tune on McCarthy. For now, the team’s chances to land Payton appear to be slim, unless Dallas changes their strategy following another disappointing first-round exit.