Stephen Jones made it clear that the Cowboys are focused on keeping their coaching staff in tact as much as possible, and fully expect to use their three-day exclusive negotiating window to accomplish that.
The Cowboys’ priorities are to reach a long-term extension with coach Jason Garrett, and then bring back his top assistants in play-caller Scott Linehan and defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli.
Offensive coordinator/ line coach Bill Callahan also has an expiring contract.
“We’ll be trying to sign our guys,” Jones said. “My priority is to sign our staff.”
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Day One of the exclusive negotiating window began Monday, and Jones said the Cowboys have already begun talks with Garrett.
Jones said they won’t let any of their assistants meet with other teams over the three-day period, either, unless it’s for a head coaching opportunity. He wouldn’t say whether other teams had contacted them about pursuing Garrett.
“I’m not going to get into specifics on anything,” Jones said.
Garrett, though, made it known that he wanted to stay with the Cowboys during a KRLD-FM radio interview.
“This is a great organization,” Garrett said. “I think we really built a football team that we can be proud of, and there are some really good things ahead for this team.”
Linehan is the only assistant who has been linked to a head coaching position, landing on the Raiders’ list. But Linehan has also stated that he has enjoyed working with the Cowboys, and has already developed a good relationship with quarterback Tony Romo.
Marinelli, meanwhile, is in an interesting spot. It’s been speculated for months that he’d likely reunite with his friend Lovie Smith in Tampa Bay, but it might be hard to leave a contending team for a rebuilding team.
The Cowboys’ defenders are certainly hopeful Marinelli returns.
“Tell him he better stay here,” veteran defensive end Jeremy Mincey said, smiling. “Nah, I’d be happy for him. I have so much respect for Coach Rod … but we definitely want him here. We’ve got a lot of love and respect for him and he coaches the game the right way.”
Said cornerback Orlando Scandrick: “He brings a demeanor to the defense, guys love playing for him. I love playing for him and I look forward to what the future holds.”
Callahan is another prominent assistant in his final season, and it seemed to be a foregone conclusion that he’d leave after being stripped of his play-calling duties last off-season. However, he has overseen the growth of what’s become a strong offensive line and the Cowboys will at least attempt to keep him.
“Our goal is to keep everyone together,” Jones said.