What's next for the Dallas Cowboys
Jerry Jones and his family are once again facing a series of difficult decisions about the future of the franchise.
Why it matters: After yet another calamitous season-ending loss, the tenures of the team's coaching staff, starting quarterback and starting running back are all up in the air.
- Though the Cowboys entered this postseason with what might've been the clearest path to a Super Bowl since the 1990s, fans are now reeling from another disappointing finish.
Zoom in: The most obvious question after the game was about head coach Mike McCarthy. He's won 12 games in each of his three seasons with Dallas, but he's 1-3 in the playoffs.
- Jones has a reputation for giving head coaches more chances than other NFL owners, but there are a few legendary coaches available now, including Pete Carroll and six-time Super Bowl champion Bill Belichick.
- Defensive coordinator Dan Quinn, who's reportedly interviewing for five other head coaching jobs, probably would've been a leading candidate to replace McCarthy before his defense looked so woefully unprepared in the team's unceremonious playoff loss to the Green Bay Packers on Sunday.
Yes, but: ESPN's Adam Schefter reported Wednesday night that McCarthy will return for a fourth season with the Cowboys.
Meanwhile: Starting quarterback Dak Prescott has one year left on his four-year, $160 million contract. If he's not traded, cut or extended, Prescott's deal will mean a nearly-$60 million salary cap hit in 2024 — making it extremely difficult to extend the contracts of young stars like Micah Parsons and CeeDee Lamb.
- A contract extension could make Prescott, who's 2-5 in the playoffs in his career, the NFL's highest-paid player.
Plus: The Cowboys have 16 players — including starting running back Tony Pollard and eight-time Pro Bowl offensive tackle Tyron Smith — who'll become free agents this year.
The bottom line: Whatever happens, the 2024 Cowboys will look a lot different.
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