Jason Garrett is the Dallas Cowboys' head coach. This is a fact. But after eight full seasons leading America's Team, Garrett's tenure has arrived at a cross-roads point. A 3-5 start to the 2018 season made it seem certain that Garrett would be gone by season's end, but the Cowboys won seven of their final eight regular season games, took the NFC East crown and reached the NFC Divisional playoffs, the third such time in the past five seasons.
But despite that rally, Garrett did not receive a contract extension. He will coach the 2019 season under the final year of his contract.
If the Cowboys do not meet expectations -- the thought here is Garrett would have to lead Dallas to its first NFC Championship game since the 1995 campaign to be safe -- the expectation is they'd turn to Sean Payton to replace Garrett.
The Jones family's interest in Payton has long been the worst-kept secret in football; in fact, I'm not even sure you can call it a secret at this point. Payton was the Cowboys' assistant head coach and quarterbacks coach under Bill Parcells, and his family still maintains residence in the Dallas area. After 13 seasons -- including 2019 -- perhaps Payton would be ready for a fresh start (and a raise) in Dallas.
So, what say you, Mr. Payton?
“I’ve got fleur-de-lis tattoos that can’t be erased," Payton said in an interview with WWL in New Orleans, via the New Orleans Times-Picayune. He continued: “I’m in my 13th year. I don’t know how to answer it. I feel like it’s every other year; it’s on the odd number years, so 2019 it comes up and then we’ll hear it in 2021.”
So that's a no then? You're going to be in New Orleans in 2020? “That’s clearly the plan.”
That's not exactly a slam-the-table "no," but it would be kind of awkward for the Cowboys coach to have a Saints tattoo, so Payton does have a point there.