Last week Jerry Jones made Jason Garrett the highest paid assistant coach in the NFL, ever. Jason Garrett is believed to be making somewhere around a 3 million dollar salary, close to matching what Wade Phillips makes. When asked, however, Jason Garrett denies any talk about himself being the heir to the head coaching job and so does Jerry Jones. After a few interviews certain media outlets are now starting to buy into the idea that he isn’t the heir apparent; but should they?
To say that Garrett is staying with the Dallas Cowboys this season, despite being offered two different jobs as a head coach with Atlanta and Baltimore, because he thought this Dallas Cowboys team had something special going for it isn’t completely absurd at all. Saying that Jerry Jones was paying Jason Garrett head coaching salary with out thinking about the near and long term future is absurd. Jerry Jones is paying Garrett exactly what he thinks he is worth, and that is the same amount he pays a head coach.
There is no doubt in my mind that Garrett is deserving of big money, just look at what he was able to accomplish in his first season as an offensive play caller-that should speak for its self. To pay him a 3 mil salary is a whole different story. Why in the world would you pay someone that you believe is just an assistant coach the same as you would pay his boss? That doesn’t happen anywhere, unless your boss is training you to take over his position.
Initially I believed that Garrett wasn’t guaranteed the starting head coaching job because of the Rooney Rule, but that is not the case. The Rooney Rule only applies to teams that don’t have language written in the contract that would name the assistant coach the successor to the current head coach. If that’s the case why not just write it into Garrett’s contract? One reason, because it would be too risky.
The NFL is the â€˜Not For Long’ League. Whatever was good last year may not necessarily be so good the next. Coaches aren’t included in the salary cap, so there is absolutely no risk of firing a coach if they don’t make the grade at any point in the season. Giving specific terms into a contract like making the coach a head coach apparent can have legal implications if the GM later changes his mind. So why risk it?
That doesn’t make Garrett any less the heir apparent, however. There is nothing binding saying he has to be the next head coach of the Dallas Cowboys but the financial investment put into him definitely says Jerry Jones sees his current potential. Next season, however, will provide a better benchmark to showing just how ready he is for the head coaching job. Remember this will be only Jason Garrets second season as an offensive play caller, only his third season as a head coach. While he is certainly could have been a head coach this season, waiting a year or two would hardly be taking him off the fast track to the head coaching job.
Don’t expect Jerry Jones to change his stance on Garrett becoming the next head coach of the Dallas Cowboys where the media is concerned though. If it’s not in his contract Garrett can’t be named. Not that it is so much as against the rules, but that it could lead to a similar situation that the Detroit Lions faced in 2003 when they were fined 200,000 dollars for hiring Steve Mariucci with out so much as interviewing another candidate. Their claim was they had asked several candidates to come in for an interview but declined because they thought Mariucci was going to get the job regardless. Just know that $3,000,000 of Jerry Jones’ money says Garrett is next up.