FRISCO, Texas – The Cowboys made a major move to keep their front office intact on Thursday.
As rumors swirl about their offensive and defensive coordinators interviewing for head coaching jobs, they reached an agreement to retain Will McClay as their vice president of player personnel.
The significance of the move won't be lost on anyone who has followed the Cowboys in recent seasons. As the head of the team's personnel department, McClay is an integral part of the front office structure, along with owner/general manager Jerry Jones, chief operating officer Stephen Jones and head coach Mike McCarthy.
It's fitting timing that this deal is being announced now. With multiple NFL teams searching for a new general manager following the end of the regular season, McCarthy was asked about McClay potentially being a candidate to run another team.
"I really enjoy working with Will. I can't say enough about him," McCarthy said. "He's very astute at his approach and how the inner workings of the personnel department and the collaboration between Will, Stephen and Jerry. We spent a tremendous amount of time together. And I enjoy working with him. He's obviously someone that I know as an organization we would not want to lose. But he's definitely worthy of any opportunity that pursues him."
There may have been other suitors for his services, but McCarthy won't have to worry about them now.
McClay has gained notoriety for overseeing the Cowboys' draft process for the last eight years, having a huge hand in identifying the dozens of homegrown players that currently make up the team's roster. From Zack Martin and DeMarcus Lawrence to CeeDee Lamb and Micah Parsons, McClay and his scouting staff have contributed to drafting many of the Cowboys' biggest stars.
The free agent aspect of his job took center stage in 2021, as well. While the Cowboys haven't typically had huge success bringing in veteran free agents in recent years, the personnel department hit several home runs this spring with the additions of Jayron Kearse, Damontae Kazee, Tarell Basham and Malik Hooker – all of whom have had a hand in revitalizing this Dallas defense.
McClay has been with the Cowboys for 20 seasons, working as a pro scout and the team's pro scouting coordinator, before eventually moving into a role as the director of football research. He was named vice president of player personnel in 2017, and he has overseen the draft process since 2014.
With this deal in place, that can now continue moving into 2022 and beyond.