Should Jerry Jones extend Jason Garrett's contract now?
Cowboys shouldn't quit on Garrett
To me, this isn't an issue. When Jerry Jones was asked at the start of training camp if Jason Garrett's job status is tied to making the playoffs this season, the Cowboys' owner said no.
Then take care of the man!
Garrett will enter the final year of his contract in 2014, and you don't want him to be a lame-duck coach next season. So if he isn't under any pressure to make the playoffs, just give him an extension for two more seasons.
During his ownership, Jones has given just two contract extensions -- Jimmy Johnson and Wade Phillips. Bill Parcells left on his own accord. Those who were shown the door: Chan Gailey, Dave Campo and Barry Switzer.
Garrett deserves two more years because he's had to change the culture around Valley Ranch. When he replaced Phillips, the Cowboys had good players but not a good team. There was too much "Me" and not enough "We" at Valley Ranch.
Garrett has changed that. He praises practice-squad players. He holds veterans and young players accountable for mistakes.
He's the right man for the gig.
Jones is on his fifth head coach since his last Super Bowl championship. Of that group, the best was Parcells, who rebuilt the franchise after three consecutive 5-11 seasons.
While Phillips won two division titles and earned a playoff victory after Parcells retired, the players eventually quit on him during the 2010 season.
This team won't quit on Garrett; he won't let them. He's no longer calling plays -- Bill Callahan steps into that role -- in hopes that it'll be for the betterment of the team. Garrett's ego isn't so large that he feels he must do everything.
If Garrett is the coach you want to push the Cowboys into the future, make sure he knows it. It's not very hard: Take care of the people who take care of you.
Garrett is pushing the franchise to do better things. And if Jones agrees, he'll be smart to keep the redheaded coach around for a while more.
No upside to giving extension now
Jerry Jones gives away enough nonsensical contract extensions without any encouragement.
This one would rank right up there with broken-down defensive tackle Jay Ratliff's rich deal, which was signed two years ago but is technically just about to begin, among the worst ideas.
That's not to discount the possibility that Jason Garrett could be a head coach worth keeping around. Other than the mediocre results, which are relatively important, there is a lot to like about the way Garrett has handled the job so far.
There's just zero risk of losing Jerry's favorite redhead right now. Garrett is halfway through his contract, which has two years remaining.
Why the heck should the Cowboys tear up that contract after a couple of 8-8 seasons?
Oh, so everybody in the locker room knows that Garrett's in charge, right?
Guess what? They already do. The respect for Garrett survived Jerry's uncomfortable offseason. There's no need to spend millions of dollars to address a problem that doesn't exist.
Yeah, but what about the distraction of Jerry being asked about Garrett's job status if the Cowboys' season takes a tough turn?
Well, there's not much of a story if Jerry simply stays consistent with support of his head coach. And that doesn't cost a dime!
Here's the problem with giving Garrett an extension: He might not be the best man for the job. And it'd reinforce the perception, fueled by Jimmy Johnson's comments about a country-club atmosphere, that Valley Ranch is a place that lacks accountability.
It's premature to be running Garrett out of Valley Ranch, but he has yet to earn a long-term commitment beyond his current contract. If the Cowboys can't snap a three-year streak of missing the postseason, Jerry has every right to seriously consider trying to hire a coach who has more skins on the wall.
Those candidates include Jon Gruden and Lovie Smith, who just so happen to have significant ties to the coaching staff that was revamped this offseason at Jerry's insistence.
There's nothing wrong with making a head coach actually accomplish something before signing him to a second contract. There's no upside to giving Garrett an extension now. There's no reason to take that risk. It's not like the Cowboys are in danger of losing a coach who just won back-to-back Super Bowls.
There are 500 coaches who can go .500.
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