Cowboys Rumors: Jason Garrett Asked to Call Plays After Not Getting New Contract

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured ColumnistJanuary 2, 2020

ARLINGTON, TEXAS - DECEMBER 29: Head coach Jason Garrett of the Dallas Cowboys on the sidelines during the game against the Washington Redskins at AT&T Stadium on December 29, 2019 in Arlington, Texas. (Photo by Richard Rodriguez/Getty Images)
Richard Rodriguez/Getty Images

Upon failing to receive a contract extension from the team after the 2018 campaign, Jason Garrett requested and failed to receive play-calling duties with the Dallas Cowboys, ESPN's Ed Werder reported on NFL Live Thursday. 

Werder reported earlier Thursday that Garrett, whose deal with the Cowboys expired after the 2019 season ended, might return in some form in 2020:

Ed Werder @WerderEdESPN

I’m live on #NFL Live in 90 minutes. As Jerry Jones and Jason Garrett resume their series of meetings, I can tell you this: people inside the building have begun to wonder if Garrett is going to have a role with the 2020 #Cowboys - whether as head coach or in another capacity.

Werder said Garrett might feel justified in asking for more time by saying Jones failed to deliver on either of his two requests heading into 2019:

"When they talked last offseason about an extension that Garrett wanted, I was told he wanted the security of the contract or if denied and forced to coach his final season, then Garrett wanted to control his own fate by calling plays. He was denied both requests, and Jones promoted Kellen Moore, with one season of coaching experience, to offensive coordinator and empowered him to call plays for the first time in his career."

Following the Cowboys' season-ending 47-16 win over the Washington Redskins, which wasn't enough to get them into the playoffs, Jones appeared to reference Moore's promotion as part of a larger point:

Jon Machota @jonmachota

Jerry Jones: "I really thought we did some dramatic things last year when we made some (coaching) changes. And I had a lot to do with that. So don't hang that one totally around Jason Garrett's neck. There's a lot of blame to pass around here & I certainly accept my share of it."

Effectively pinning the blame on Moore for an underwhelming year would be pretty harsh.

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The Cowboys ranked second in offensive efficiency, per Football Outsiders, and led the NFL in yards, averaging 431.5 per game. Dak Prescott, Amari Cooper and Michael Gallup all had career years, while Ezekiel Elliott earned his third trip to the Pro Bowl.

In retrospect, Garrett's postgame comments after Dallas' 17-9 defeat to the Philadelphia Eagles could shed light on the dynamic between head coach and offensive coordinator. Cooper wasn't on the field for the pivotal 4th-and-8 with 1:21 remaining, and Garrett passed the buck to Moore for the play call:

Joe Trahan @JoeTrahan

"Ultimately Kellen is calling the play and the personnel group." -Jason Garrett on the 4th and 8 play run with both Randall Cobb and Amari Cooper on the sideline. He made specific mention of Kellen Moore, as he did earlier this morning on his radio show on @1053thefan. https://t.co/EYlvpPqtwM

Jane Slater @SlaterNFL

Garrett said this was a Kellen Moore decision and the rotation part comes from Sanjay Lal. https://t.co/QiZxKE5s1c

Whatever faults Moore might have as an offensive coordinator, Dallas wasn't exactly going above and beyond prior to his promotion. The team fired Scott Linehan last January because he failed to make the most of the talent at his disposal.

Moore didn't drastically change how things operated either. ESPN's Todd Archer wrote in September he "has taken the 'nuts and bolts' of the Garrett offense and added wrinkles."

Cowboys fans will have a hard time buying into the idea of Garrett assuming any role with the team next season. Making Moore the fall guy might make things worse based on how well the Cowboys offense performed under his watch.

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