Jerry Jones, Dallas Cowboys Owner Face Legal Troubles: got Arrested, Mike McCarthy Also in Custody

As he unwound, sipping on a beverage following a long day of sessions at the NFL meetings this week, there was little doubt that Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones is intent on working the uncertainty surrounding the status of coach Mike McCarthy for all it’s worth.

Motivational fuel? Good business? Both?

McCarthy survived with his job intact following the disastrous ending against the Green Bay Packers in January – arguably the worst playoff loss in franchise history, which included a 27-0 deficit in the first half – but his future seems murky as Jones has declared (again) that he’s “all-in” for chasing that elusive championship glory in 2024. McCarthy is on the final year of his five-year contract as the poster image for the NFL hot seat.

“I’m not concerned about that,” Jones told USA TODAY Sports during a 45-minute chat at the resort where owners, coaches and other NFL biggies convened.

“Most of America gets up and they don’t have it guaranteed in front of them. You’re going to write what you’re going to write, but when you ask me about not extending him, my answer is that most of America doesn’t have anything guaranteed down the road. Most folks don’t have guarantees.”

Jones, the league’s most high-profile (and loquacious) owner running the most high-profile franchise, maintained that he isn’t trying to send a win-big-or-else message as McCarthy and most, if not all, of his staff of assistants proceed with lame-duck status. Yeah, right. Intentional or not, that’s exactly what he’s doing with the thick drama hovering above the Cowboys.

The heat is turned up, for better or for worse.

“I’ve had coaches in their final year before,” he said, pointing to McCarthy’s predecessor, Jason Garrett, as an example. “I just am comfortable like this. There’s nothing that keeps me from extending him next week. Or during training camp. So, it’s not fait accompli that he’s going to coach this year without a contract (extension). I didn’t want to get into it as this particular time. We’ve had other contracts come up that we haven’t extended. No reason other than I wanted to manage it that way.

“You’ve got a very significant problem in the NFL with dead money for coaches. And it’s because you’ve got extended contracts, to where if you let somebody go, you’ve got to pay off their contract. It’s gotten to be so much of an issue that you can decide if you want to do what you do this year and reshuffle the cards next year with them. There’s nothing that says I won’t be extending those coaches next year. They’re all good coaches. Obviously. That’s just the way I do it.

“I’m doing it, to be very candid with you, because we have such a problem with dead money with coaches in the NFL. So, that’s what I’m trying to avoid.”

It has to be only so comforting (or not) when the team’s owner is bemoaning dead money. McCarthy knows. The NFL is a high-stakes, cut-throat business. Embarrassing playoff failures don’t cut it. Especially when it’s become a trend. Yet McCarthy is seemingly taking the increased heat – against the backdrop of the Cowboys’ massive spotlight – in stride.

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