MOBILE, Ala. — Dallas Cowboys owner and general manager Jerry Jones met with reporters on Tuesday morning at the Senior Bowl for the first time since making the decision to keep head coach Mike McCarthy in the building for the fifth and final year of his current contract after another early postseason exit, as he detailed his seemingly quick decision and the need to "disrupt" this offseason in order to have a better result in 2024.
Jones met with McCarthy for over three hours in the days following the abrupt postseason exit, and he emphasized on Tuesday that it wasn't something he had to think long on in order to move forward.
"This is not a 'talk yourself into it,'" Jones said. "It obviously gives you a lot of things to consider and think about. Everybody has options. This is one I'm very comfortable with. I felt good during the year with the job that Mike was doing. The team was responding well. We were all disappointed that we didn't win that Green Bay game. We had visions of a lot better than that, we all did. But there are things there that we can take forward."
Rhetoric from fans following the decision to bring back McCarthy implied that without change from a coaching standpoint, there wouldn't be a change in on-field results, but Jones said he knows how to make an impact to better position the Cowboys next season in the playoffs.
"I know how to disrupt and understand disruption," he said. "I think that the nature of what we do with our roster decisions – the fact that we're here looking for help for this coming year at the Senior Bowl, the fact that we have free agency opportunities, the fact that we've got substantive decisions to make here on our roster as it pertains to the salary cap – that's enough disruption for me. If we get through all of those decisions, there will be a lot of disruption."
In terms of disruption, Jones and the front office have been evaluating in the weeks since the season's end how they can make improvements this offseason, as he pointed specifically to the quarterback position and the luxury of his potential improved play.
"I think you can look on all three phases and see that we've got room for improvement," he said. "The thing that I would emphasize more than anything is that Dak has room for improvement and not just the scheme around him, but Dak can improve. That's a big plus when you've been playing the game for seven years and, by assessment, have some room to get better in. I expect him to do it next year and the next year."
Jones also pointed to Dak Prescott's improvement from 2024 being linked to the offensive system under Mike McCarthy as the two were able to improve an offense that put Prescott in the MVP conversation and CeeDee Lamb in the Offensive Player of the Year candidacy.
"We're right at a key spot with Dak," he said. "Dak has improved since Mike [McCarthy] has been here, and I think we can look forward to that improvement. There's more there to get in terms of Dak's improvement with Mike. The evidence points to that. With more to get there, more pluses on Dak, that impacts a lot of other things that we're doing right now with the decisions we're making so it all makes sense to have [McCarthy] back."
How long McCarthy will be back remains a question as he enters the final year of his five-year contract, but Jones implied that there are still visions beyond this next season for McCarthy.
"No, not necessarily," Jones said on allowing McCarthy to enter the final year of his deal. "Certainly he is in the final year of his contract, so he is under contract so we didn't really have to do anything at all. The idea of renewing a contract doesn't necessarily happen at all right after the last game. It can happen at any time. That's kind of a wrong signal to send that there's not more future than just this year in the picture."