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Offseason | 2024

Aikman on Cowboys' culture, McCarthy's contract


DALLAS — The fact that head coach and offensive play caller Mike McCarthy is heading into a contract season in 2024, after having not secured an extension following the 2023 season, is far from a secret around the NFL. It essentially means McCarthy is coaching for his future with the Dallas Cowboys, which is precisely what owner and general manager Jerry Jones intended.

For his part, McCarthy expressed his lack of concern over the contract situation — mostly because he came to North Texas to "win championships" and not "contracts".

Speaking from an event to support the Children's Cancer Fund in Dallas, team legend and Hall of Famer Troy Aikman weighed in on the topic.

"Sometimes, I hoped that it would happen," said a smiling Aikman in a very tongue-and-cheek moment.

Of course, Aikman is playfully referencing a particular stretch of time during his illustrious career with the Cowboys, and if you know, you know.

But as far as McCarthy goes, and anyone else who might be on the final year of their current contract when the 2024 season rolls around — e.g., Dak Prescott (if an extension isn't agreed to before September) — Aikman doesn't see it as an issue or distraction.

"I don't think it matters too much, I really don't," he explained.

If anything, he believes that, despite the recent narrative, the Cowboys' culture as a whole makes it challenging to want to leave.

"Whether it's players or coaches, I just don't think there are many that want to go elsewhere," said Aikman. "I think that's a benefit to the organization, that they're able to allow players and coaches to go into their last year, and put a little pressure on them. And I don't necessarily think that's a bad thing.

"It's not ideal, but I don't think it's much of a factor going into the season. I really don't."

McCarthy has ushered in a stretch of regular season success, 36 regular season wins and two NFC East titles over the past three seasons, that has literally never been done in Dallas, but his teams have also stalled out in the postseason — lengthening an already cumbersome Super Bowl drought.

Getting the Cowboys over the hump in January and February would be a win-win for McCarthy and all involved, seeing as it would put them in position to grab both the Lombardi trophy and new contracts immediately thereafter.

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