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Cowboys' Jerry Jones doesn't think Mike McCarthy being in final year of contract will hamper DC search

Never low on confidence, Cowboys owner Jerry Jones is unsurprisingly unconcerned with any complications regarding Dallas' search for a defensive coordinator. 

The team needs a new one following Dan Quinn's departure to helm the Commanders, but it's possible potential hires might balk at a perceived lack of security considering head coach Mike McCarthy has only one year left on his contract.

"I don't anticipate that being an issue at all," Jones said at a Sunday news conference, per the team website. "If they take the job, they will be coordinator of the Cowboys. They would be looking at that right there and all that goes with that. If they're aspiring, they know there's a chance to be a head coach someplace, because the one that just left is."

The fear for incoming candidates, especially since Jones has already issued an all-in mandate for 2024, would be that Dallas will waver on bringing McCarthy back after next season if the team falls short of a championship.

Such a decision would mean a new head coach, who would presumably want a new staff made up primarily of his choosing.

But Jones has a point about the pedigree of a Dallas DC job, plus the defense is rife with talent ready-made for a Super Bowl push.

Quinn himself used the job as a springboard after he was fired as head coach of the Atlanta Falcons during the 2020 season. He joined McCarthy's staff in 2021, then twice guided the defense to a fifth-ranked finish in scoring.

His talents were obvious, and they landed him a second head coaching job, this time within the NFC East.

"I felt ultimately two years ago that Dan wanted a head coaching job, so it doesn't surprise me that he's landed a head coaching job," Jones said. "I couldn't look at a crystal ball and see what direction that might go back then, but it doesn't surprise me -- the fact that he's got head coaching credentials [and] been to a Super Bowl."

The proven DC-to-HC pipeline is certainly a selling point, as is Dallas' sustained success in recent years.

Although the Cowboys have hit the same torturous wall under McCarthy that's been present since the late 1990s -- failing to advance beyond the NFC Divisional Round for 28 years -- the team has 36 regular-season wins since 2021.

Dallas' offense is loaded with all the tools to take pressure off its defense. Dak Prescott and Co. have finished first in the league in points two times during the past three years.

And the Cowboys boast two of the league's five finalists for NFL Defensive Player of the Year -- Micah Parsons and DaRon Bland. Parsons is borderline unblockable, with 40.5 sacks and seven forced fumbles in three career seasons, while Bland set the NFL's single-season pick-six record by returning a remarkable five of his nine interceptions for TDs during his sophomore campaign.

The unit is also grounded by veteran figures like DeMarcus Lawrence, and it is set to benefit from star corner Trevon Diggs returning next season from his ACL tear.

Jones, who revealed interviews for the position begin Monday, has good reason not to buy into any narratives over McCarthy's contract and the effect it'll have on landing a top defensive coordinator.

Even with the pressure that comes from coaching in Dallas, those interviewing likewise have good reason to want the job.

The Cowboys have been on the verge of a breakthrough for several years now, and a hire that helps them finally achieve one is either sticking around or moving on to greater heights.

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