Jason Garrett won Coach of the Year honors for his efforts in the 2016 season but is out of a job after the 2019 season.
The Dallas Cowboys have elected not to bring Garrett back after nine-plus seasons and an 85-67 record with the team. Dallas confirmed the decision Sunday after Jay Glazer of Fox Sports broke the news.
"We are extremely grateful to Jason Garrett for his more than 20 years of service to the Dallas Cowboys as a player, assistant coach and head coach," Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said in the team release. "His level of commitment, character and dedication to this organization has been outstanding at every stage of his career."
Garrett's contract was set to expire on Jan. 14.
The news does not come as much of a surprise, though, as Dallas had already reportedly begun interviewing potential candidates. According to ESPN's Adam Schefter, ex-Green Bay Packers coach Mike McCarthy and former Cincinnati Bengals coach Marvin Lewis interviewed with the Cowboys on Friday.
Dallas struggled with consistency throughout the 2019 campaign despite high expectations and finished 8-8 while missing the playoffs under Garrett.
The 53-year-old's job status was a talking point throughout his tenure, including during this most recent season that included a critical Week 16 loss to the Philadelphia Eagles with the NFC East hanging in the balance.
Jones criticized the team's coaching without mentioning Garrett by name following a November loss to the New England Patriots. He then said firing Garrett would give the team "zero chance to make the postseason" after a Thanksgiving loss to the Buffalo Bills, per Charean Williams of Pro Football Talk.
The 2019 frustration came after a 10-6 effort from the Cowboys in 2018 that saw them win the NFC East and defeat the Seattle Seahawks in the NFC Wild Card Game before losing to the Los Angeles Rams in the next round. It was a better showing than 2017 when Dallas went 9-7 and saw running back Ezekiel Elliott suspended six games and quarterback Dak Prescott throw 13 interceptions after throwing just four in 2016.
It appeared as if Garrett was safe in his position after the three straight winning years from 2016-2018, especially when NFL Network's Ian Rapoport reported the Cowboys were looking into giving the coach a "pretty lucrative" contract extension following the 2018 season.
Garrett signed a five-year, $30 million deal in 2015 and was under contract through the 2019 campaign.
Jones previously gave Garrett a vote of confidence following a Christmas Eve 2017 loss to the Seattle Seahawks, and the coach said "Yes" when asked if he felt Jones' support following an October 2018 loss to the Houston Texans, per Stefan Stevenson of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.
What's more, Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports reported in October "several sources indicated Jones, if he does make a coaching change, is very intrigued by Oklahoma head coach Lincoln Riley."
This wasn't the ending Garrett was looking for, but his career as the Cowboys coach started in the right direction. He was the offensive coordinator and assumed the interim role after Dallas fired Wade Phillips in the 2010 campaign and went 5-3 before earning the full-time position.
While he didn't build on his early momentum with three straight 8-8 seasons, he bounced back by making the playoffs in 2014 with a 12-4 mark and 2016 when he was 13-3 and won Coach of the Year.
Still, even his best season ended with a home loss to the Green Bay Packers in the divisional round, and he finished with a 2-3 postseason record during his tenure. He also failed to parlay the Prescott-Elliott backfield into much more than some regular-season success and will now be forced to look for another job because of it.