Cowboys Could Target Rival’s Former Coach if Dan Quinn Departs

Dallas Cowboys defensive coordinator Dan Quinn is reportedly in the mix for both of the remaining NFL head coaching vacancies, and if he departs it would create a sizable void on Mike McCarthy’s coaching staff.

Cowboys, Mike McCarthy

Multiple reports suggest that Quinn, who has been among the most coveted coaching candidates the past two hiring cycles, is among the favorites for both the Washington Commanders and Seattle Seahawks openings.

According to Ian Rapoport of NFL Network, former Washington head coach Ron Rivera could be in Jerry Jones and the Cowboys’ crosshairs if Quinn winds up moving on.

“Here’s an interesting one,” Rapoport said on January 28. “Ron Rivera has already interviewed for the Eagles’ defensive coordinator job. I am told the Cowboys have some interest in potentially looking into Rivera if Dan Quinn Leaves. So, you could have the former Commanders coach become the Cowboys’ defensive coordinator.”

The Eagles wound up hiring Vic Fangio, over Rivera, but he could make a fascinating replacement for Quinn with the Cowboys.

Rivera, 62, was let go by the Commanders on January 8, after posting a 26-40-1 record in four seasons as Washington’s head coach with just one postseason appearance over that span.

During his head coaching career, Rivera has built a strong reputation as a culture-driver and is well respected by his players, which could be exactly what the Cowboys are looking for if the well-liked Quinn is elsewhere in 2024.

Commanders Closing in on Dan Quinn?

Quinn could potentially have options.

While the door is always open for Quinn to return as Cowboys defensive coordinator, as he did in the middle of the hiring cycle last offseason, the Seahawks and Washington openings could prove too compelling for the 53-year-old to pass up.

Quinn will have a second in-person interview in Washington on January 30, according to Rapoport.

Washington, with new general manager Adam Peters in place, have the resources to orchestrate a dramatic and quick turnaround after finishing 4-13 in 2023. That’s because this offseason, Washington boasts a league-high $83.5 million in cap space as well as the No. 2 overall pick.

The combination of a rising executive as general manager, abundant cap space, and premium draft capital could be an enticing destination for Quinn.

Should Cowboys Worry About Dak Prescott Drama?

The Dallas Cowboys have yet to advance even to the NFC Championship Game during Dak Prescott’s career, and could be on the cusp of making him one of the highest paid quarterbacks in the league.

ESPN NFL analyst Chris Canty believes that Jones and the Cowboys could be walking a fine line this offseason, when it comes to the balance of emotions in the locker room given the franchise’s inability to break through with Prescott.

“There are a lot more questions in Dallas that have to be answered in the way of leadership,” Canty said on ESPN’s GetUp. “I don’t know how that gets better with Mike McCarthy going into the season as a lame-duck coach, especially when you consider the offseason that the Dallas Cowboys have to have when you’re going to pay Micah Parsons, CeeDee Lamb, and Dak Prescott at the top of their positions.

“When I’m looking at this situation, I think the noise is only going to get louder. The families, those conversations that they’re having in private, that stuff is bubbling to the surface on social media and I don’t know how those players walk that back and so I think that’s only going to breed more tension moving forward.”

Jones and the Cowboys will have some difficult decisions, especially as Dallas enters the offseason projected to be $14.29 million over the cap.

Matt Lombardo covers the NFL for, with a focus on the Philadelphia Eagles,

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