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Cowboys Coaches Catch-22: Can Dallas Keep McCarthy, Kellen Moore & Dan Quinn?

Cowboys COO Stephen Jones says the organization would "embrace'' the advancement of Kellen Moore and Dan Quinn.
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FRISCO - It is the Catch-22 of developing a winning coaching staff: A team develops a winning program, and the coaches who help the team develop ... leave.

“You always want to keep guys that are helping you have success, but at the same time we know that’s part of this business,” Dallas Cowboys COO Stephen Jones says.

That "part of the business'' points specifically now at Kellen Moore, Dallas' wunderkind offensive coordinator who is just 33, who had head-coaching interviews last offseason, who is overseeing one of the NFL's hottest groups ...

And who projects as being one of the hottest head-coach prospects on the 2022 market. Moore calls this consideration "an offseason thing,'' and for him personally, it is. But organizationally? Dallas head coach Mike McCarthy takes pride in building a sort of "pipeline'' of coaches on his staff who can be "up-and-coming'' when somebody like Moore is "up-and-going.''

Would the Cowboys be willing to pay Moore ... more ... to stay, working here again next year, while also of course retaining McCarthy? (Assuming, that is, McCarthy, presently the overseer of a 5-1 team, continues on that arc.)

Sure. But the Joneses won't, and really can't, prevent Moore from ending up in charge of, say, the Las Vegas Raiders.

Stephen Jones says ownership will “embrace” any coach “if they happen to get the opportunity they really want as a head coach.''

That goes for Moore. And for defensive coordinator Dan Quinn, who is also earning acclaim for his first year of work in Dallas after having been a Super Bowl head coach for the Atlanta Falcons. It goes for special-teams coordinator "Bones'' Fassel and everybody else on the staff as well.

When coach Parcells was here, Jones notes via The Ticket, "We had Mike Zimmer and Sean Payton ... Those guys got their opportunities to go on and be successful coaches. But the good news with that is it usually means you’re having success on the field.

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"It happened back when we had our Super Bowl run when we had guys like Butch Davis, Dave (Wannstedt) ... Norv Turner getting opportunities. That comes with success.''

All of the above became head coaches. Zimmer in Minnesota (where the Cowboys happen to play Sunday night against his Vikings) and Payton (in New Orleans) are still going strong.

“So, a part of you hopes you have that challenge, but at the same time, you hate to lose guys who are doing a great job for you,'' Jones says, adding, "We got guys on our staff who can step up if (Moore, Quinn or others) happen to get the opportunity they really want as a head coach.''

And there is your Catch-22: The better the Cowboys are, the more other NFL teams are going to want a piece of them ... which hurts the Cowboys' chances of staying "better.''

But it is an offseason problem. And ultimately, it is a good problem to have.

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