When the Dallas Cowboys season ends, whenever it ends, look for several key figures to be up for a few league-wide awards.
Coach Jason Garrett is considered a front-runner for coach of the year.
Rookie quarterback Dak Prescott and rookie running back Ezekiel Elliott are in the running for most valuable player, rookie of the year and offensive player of the year.
Linebacker Sean Lee is on his way back to the Pro Bowl or at least to being selected for the game. Lee hopes to skip the game because the Cowboys will be in the Super Bowl.
But the biggest winner might be assistant director of player personnel Will McClay, who could be in line for a general manager opening around the league.
Jerry Jones is listed as general manager and owner. Executive vice president Stephen Jones is the man listed in charge of personnel.
But the person most responsible for the makeup of the team through the draft and free agency is McClay.
He’s been the man in charge as the Cowboys have built a powerful offensive line. He was at the helm when they drafted Elliott and Prescott to go along with two other surprise rookie starters in the 2016 class in defensive tackle Maliek Collins and cornerback Anthony Brown.
It’s time for McClay to get some credit for the team’s success.
The team values what McClay does, but there is no way he will ever be general manager of the Cowboys.
If McClay hopes to climb another ladder to the top, it will have to be elsewhere.
The off-season might the time to strike when the iron is hot.