Five Candidates to Replace Jason Garrett as Head Coach of the Dallas Cowboys

Ryan Phillips
Oklahoma coach Lincoln Riley
Oklahoma coach Lincoln Riley / Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

The Dallas Cowboys may soon need a new head coach as owner Jerry Jones is inching towards firing Jason Garrett after 10 seasons. ESPN's Ed Werder is reporting the Cowboys are expected to part ways with their long-time head coach soon.

What follows is a look at five candidates to replace Garrett in Dallas.

Urban Meyer

Meyer is the hot, big name that's been associate with this job for weeks. He's stated publicly that he'd be interested and we know Jerry Jones loves to make a splash. The former Ohio State coach certainly seems like someone who will never be satisfied outside of coaching and he's still just 55 years old. The challenge of coaching the Cowboys could be something that entices him to return to the sidelines.

In 17 years coaching college football, Meyer turned in an incredible record of 187-32 while winning conference titles at three of his four stops and national titles at two different schools.

Lincoln Riley

Riley may be coming off a terrible loss in the CFP semifinals, but his Oklahoma Sooners were facing a juggernaut of an LSU squad. He can be forgiven for that failure. It's undeniable that the 36-year-old is an excellent head coach and possesses a great football mind.

In three years at Oklahoma, Riley has posted a 36-6 record and has led the Sooners to the College Football Playoff in all three seasons. Meanwhile, he has helped develop three outstanding quarterbacks, including Baker Mayfield and Kyler Murray, who both became No. 1 draft picks. That's quite a resume in just three seasons.

It might be difficult to lure Riley away from what is a great gig at Oklahoma. He's secure, getting paid well, has some really nice recruiting pipelines rolling and the Sooners should be good for a while. But a chance to coach the Cowboys might be too much to pass up for a Texas native.

Jim Harbaugh

Surprised by this name appearing here? You shouldn't be. NFL teams have had an eye on bringing Harbaugh back to the pro ranks for a few years. He just finished his fifth season at Michigan and the results have been mixed. The Wolverines are clearly better off than when he arrived but they've never won more than 10 games under his watch and have never lost fewer than 3.

That said, Harbaugh is still the guy who turned Stanford around and made the 49ers a perennial Super Bowl contender. In San Francisco he went to the NFC Championship Game three-straight seasons and took them to Super Bowl XLVII. The 49ers went 44-19-1 during his four seasons as the team's head coach. The guy can flat-out coach and with the Cowboys he'd already have a quarterback and running back to build around.

Jerry Jones likes to make splashes. Hiring Jim Harbaugh would certainly be a splash.

Matt Rhule

Rhule's phone should be ringing off-the-hook after what he's done at the college level. After turning Temple from a doormat to a power in the AAC, he was hired to turn around Baylor's awful program. After going 1-11 in 2017, the Bears were 7-6 in 2018 and went 11-3 this season. Rhule is known to covet an NFL opportunity and actually turned down the Jets job last year.

Rhule has scant NFL experience, having spent just one season as an NFL assistant (with the Giants in 2012), but the 44-year-old clearly knows football. What he's done in Waco has Jerry Jones' attention.

Josh McDaniels

After years of speculation, could this finally be the year Josh McDaniels winds up with an NFL head coaching job? He was announced as the Colts' new head coach in February of 2018, but backed out at the last minute to return to the Patriots as offensive coordinator. That's a position he's held since 2012. He previously held it from 2005 through 2008 before he was hired as the head coach of the Broncos.

McDaniels has been a part of six Super Bowl titles in New England and obviously a number of teams would love to import that magic to their franchises. He's only 43 years old and is probably mature enough to run his own team after a rough first go-round as a head coach in Denver.

Jones knows what McDaniels brings from watching the Patriots hoist the Lombardi Trophy so many times.