FRISCO - It happens every spring.
Will McClay, the Dallas Cowboys' executive vice president of player personnel - a fancy title that doesn't tell the entire story of the many "GM-like'' duties he's responsible for inside The Star - gets put on a "hot list.''
NFL teams then reach out to McClay, wishing to interview him for their general manager vacancy.
And then McClay turns them down.
"I'm very happy with my role here with the Cowboys," says McClay every spring, using some version of the same sentiment. "It is a family and I want to be a part of building a string of successful championship teams. One of my main goals is to be a part of something that helps Mr. Jones win a Super Bowl here really soon.
"I love it here. I love the organization and the things that we do."
Someday, that could change, which is why there is sense in Sports Illustrated's Albert Breer including the Cowboys' McClay among 18 buzzed-about candidates to become the Houston Texans’ GM, replacing the fired Bill O’Brien.
And now, on the final weekend of the NFL regular season, another mention, this one from NFL Network.
It so happens that while McClay has family ties in Dallas, he is a native of Houston. There is a logical fit. At the same time, as we reported at the time a few years ago, he's already turned down one opportunity to join the Texans, declining to even interview.
Should the Texans call him again? Here is the Breer endorsement of the idea:
“Dallas, for all its faults, always seems to have really good players on its roster. There’s a reason why,” Breer wrote. “McClay’s a best-of-this-list guy (right there with Caserio, Dodds, George Paton and Ireland), and probably would be a GM now if the Joneses didn’t do everything they could to keep him. He’s got background as a coach, in analytics, and of course on both sides of the scouting business. Someone would do well to pry him. (If I was Houston or Jacksonville, I’d definitely be making that call.)”
But again, those calls come frequently. And that usually happens is that McClay declines the interview ... and accepts a raise from the Joneses.
McClay, 54, was labeled the “MVP” by team COO Stephen Jones after the Cowboys virtually scouted and then drafted the CeeDee Lamb and cornerback Trevon Diggs as part of their take in the recent NFL Draft. We've written about McClay as being the organization's "Great Unifier'' - he finds a way to bridge the gaps between ownership, coaching staff, scouting staff and even players.
“I think Will’s leadership with our scouting staff was off the charts.'' Stephen said. "He does an amazing job with the chemistry with the coaching staff, with our medical staff, with our off-the-field staff and compiling all the data that Jerry and I and the coaching staff need to see to make great decisions.”
The Dallas Cowboys value Will McClay. Thankfully, it seems, Will McClay values being a Dallas Cowboy.