FRISCO, Texas -- Dallas Cowboys owner and general manager Jerry Jones on Friday said Mike McCarthy's future as head coach was never in question and that he and McCarthy worked together to make sure defensive coordinator Dan Quinn would remain with the team.
"The idea of Mike twisting in the wind wasn't the case at all," Jones told 105.3 The Fan in Dallas. "We were trying to keep Dan Quinn and maintain continuity on the coaching staff."
Jones said he believes Quinn turned down a head-coaching opportunity to sign an extension with the Cowboys "for years to come."
Quinn was initially signed through 2023. He is still getting paid by the Atlanta Falcons; he was the head coach in Atlanta from 2015 to 2020.
Jones said Quinn is the third coordinator the owner has gotten to turn down a head-coaching opportunity to remain with the Cowboys. Jones said Sean Payton walked away from a chance to coach the Oakland Raiders in 2004 and that Jason Garrett had opportunities from the Baltimore Ravens and Falcons in 2007.
"I experienced seeing coaches turn down a head-coaching job for our situation, so I really was trying hard, meeting with Dan and Mike," Jones said.
Jones called it a "competitive situation" as to why he deferred on answering questions last week regarding McCarthy's future.
"To give us every chance to keep Dan Quinn," Jones said. "I couldn't get out and speak to it publicly because I didn't want to push a team toward [Quinn]."
Cowboys offensive coordinator Kellen Moore remains in the mix for current head-coaching vacancies, but Jones expects him to return in 2022 as well.
The Dolphins have planned a second interview with Moore for next week, a source told ESPN's Ed Werder. In addition to the Dolphins, Moore has interviewed with the Vikings and Jaguars about their current vacancies, as well as with the Broncos prior to them making their hire.
McCarthy signed a five-year deal as head coach in 2020. He has an 18-15 record through two seasons and finished 12-5 in 2021, winning the NFC East.
Payton's decision to walk away from the New Orleans Saints this week opened up more questions about McCarthy's future, considering Jones' affinity for Payton.
"He's well aware of our relationship and long-term friendship with Payton," Jones said. "I haven't talked to Sean. I'm not part of any dialogue or any decision-making relative to him leaving New Orleans. My point is, we had our heads down, getting this staff in shape, particularly at the top, the coordinator level."