LANDOVER, Md. – First things first, Cowboys owner Jerry Jones began his postgame comments with the disclaimer that he would have nothing to say about the job security of head coach Jason Garrett or his staff.
So, in the wake of a 28-18 loss at the hands of the Washington Redskins that eliminated the Cowboys from playoff contention, there’s nothing definitive to report about the club’s future, either way. The owner and his lieutenant Stephen Jones have both championed Garrett in recent weeks, however, and Sean Payton, the most talked-about alternative, has agreed to return to the New Orleans Saints.
There are plenty of important choices for the Joneses to make in the coming days and weeks. Following a third straight season to fall short of the playoffs, it’s quite possible, maybe likely, that some assistant coaches will not be brought back for 2013. Beyond that, there are important roster decisions to be made, not the least of which involves a possible contract extension for the franchise quarterback.
Other key contributors have expiring deals, most notably outside linebacker
Two other former first-round picks appear less likely to be back, running back
Other marquee players could be let go for cost or performance reasons. Right tackle
The team’s main needs appear to be along the offensive and defensive lines, and perhaps at safety, though offseason moves could create other needs. Because of injuries, the Cowboys also have quite a few midseason acquisitions who played key roles down the stretch, and are set to be unrestricted free agents again, such as linebackers
“You know how these teams work,” Jerry Jones said after the 28-18 loss to Washington. “About 30 percent of your team, you have a turnover. So you have to immediately be thinking about what you’re going to be doing and how you’re going to structure it for the future.”
Among the other players slated to be unrestricted free agents are wide receiver
“We just have to continue to get better in all phases of our football team, in all phases of our organization,” Garrett said. “I thought our guys did a great job of overcoming the different combinations of players we were playing as this year wound down.”