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Cowboys Coaching Carousel: If Garrett 'Fails Up,' What Happens to Will McClay?

Jason Garrett is Still Riding The Cowboys Coaching Carousel. If, As Has Been Speculated, He 'Fails Up' Into A Front-Office Job, What Happens to Will McClay?

FRISCO - There is a theory making the rounds that the reason "The Long Goodbye'' to Jason Garrett has been so time-consuming is that the Jones family might want to promote Garrett to a prominent position in the Dallas Cowboys front office.

There is a logical reason that shouldn't happen: That would mean Jerry and Stephen give a promotion to someone who ultimately did not succeed ... and would be rewarded for not succeeding.

In the business world, this is called "Failing Up.''

There is also a practical reason that "GM Jason'' or "Assistant GM Jason'' or "Vice President of Something Jason'' shouldn't happen: That would mean Will McClay's front-office authority would be usurped.

And I can promise you that won't happen - or, that if it does, Will McClay will break up with his beloved Jones family and accept one of those NFL GM jobs that gets dangled in front of him every offseason.

One Cowboys source, speaking generally Thursday about "Garrett Failed Up,'' termed the concept "fake news.'' The above reasons are why.

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Jerry Jones has talked about embracing "change'' in the way he and the Cowboys do football business. That's a good thing. But this particular idea? Garrett has a "CEO persona'' that could serve him well in somebody's front office. He also has skins on the wall as someone who those close to him believe would allow him to be a fine personnel guy.

But not in Dallas. Dallas already employs a fine personnel guy in Will McClay.

It wouldn't necessarily be anything personal; one of McClay's grand strengths is unifying the different wings (ownership, coaching, scouting) in the building. But Garrett moving up? Too many chefs up there in that kitchen at The Star. (For that matter, in the extremely unlikely scenario that the Cowboys ever hired Troy Aikman as the GM? McClay would again feel "leap-frogged.'' And would plot an exit.)

Is the Joneses' respect and fondness for Garrett so enduringly strong that they're willing to lose McClay over it? No way.

The best explanation for why the "Cowboys Coaching Carousel'' is spinning so slowly - we're on Day 4 of Jason and Jerry holding The Star hostage - is that we're moving on JerryTime. Maybe the next head coach (or the top handful of candidates) are already in the Cowboys' pocket, or maybe sentimentality is obscuring sensibility. Or maybe it's just Jerry's way, and it defies explanation beyond that.

But if Jason Garrett not only survives after an awful season in which virtually none of the Jones family's expectations were met by the coach ... and the coach is allowed to "fail up''?

If that happens, McClay will "succeed out.'' Right out of the building. That's why logically and practically, Garrett shouldn't be getting a promotion here. In a Cowboys world where "respect'' is suddenly such a key word, the Jones family "respects'' McClay, too - and recognizes that he cannot be sacrificed due to loyalty and sentiment.