The Dallas Cowboys could have a big name in mind for the next head coach after Jason Garrett's expected exit from the team.
With two straight Thursday losses, the Cowboys fell below 0.500 for the first time this season, erasing a promising 3-0 start and putting the team in danger of losing the division lead to the Philadelphia Eagles. Although the Cowboys are still very much in playoff contention at 6-7 and the NFC East is historically weak, the future for Garrett doesn't look so bright.
Multiple reports have said that Garrett's job is in serious danger, and it may take nothing short of a Super Bowl win to earn him a contract extension and a continued job in Dallas. So while Garrett is trying to right the ship and keep the Cowboys in control of the division, speculation is already starting about who could replace him in Dallas.
Jane Slater of NFL Network reported on Twitter that Cowboys owner Jerry Jones may already have his eyes on a big-name former college head coach.
"Jerry Jones says Jason Garrett will remain the coach but I can confirm a very real interest in Urban Meyer," Slater reported, adding that Cowboys Executive Vice President Stephen Jones had already touched base with Meyer.
Slater added that University of Oklahoma head coach Lincoln Riley is also a strong candidate, as is Clemson offensive coordinator Tony Elliott.
While Jones said before the Cowboys' Thanksgiving Day loss to the Buffalo Bills that Garrett's job was not in any immediate danger, the tide may have turned after this week's loss to the Chicago Bears. As Kalyn Kahler of Sports Illustrated noted, Jones was asked whether he thought the criticism of Garrett may have hurt the team, and his input seems to have little, if any, effect on the team this year.
"The same way that my praise of them is contributing. You may have noticed I have been praising them too," he shared. "So much for words. Seriously, so much for words."
However, some players have expressed their public support of Garrett. Safety Xavier Woods said after Thursday's loss to the Bears that the Cowboys coach still has the support of the locker room.
"We believe in [Garrett]," Woods said. "I'd never turn my back on him. He gave me an opportunity. It's on us, to go out there and win ball games."While he may be on the hot seat, Garrett still has the Cowboys in control of their own destiny regarding the playoffs, so any kind of run in the postseason could change his job trajectory.