The Dallas Cowboys are talking to former head coaches Mike McCarthy and Marvin Lewis in the surest sign so far that they are moving on from Jason Garrett.
McCarthy, who won a Super Bowl and went to three other NFC championship games with Green Bay, was to interview Saturday, two people with direct knowledge of the situation said. Lewis spent time with the Cowboys on Friday and Saturday, one of the people said.
They spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the club isn’t commenting publicly on its coaching situation, including the status of Garrett with his contract set to expire in 10 days.
One of the people said the Cowboys haven’t felt the urgency to address Garrett’s status because of the expiring contract. Dallas missed the playoffs for the sixth time in Garrett’s nine full seasons by finishing 8-8 in a year that started with high expectations.
McCarthy won the championship with Green Bay in the 2011 Super Bowl at the home of the Cowboys. The Packers won at least 10 games in eight of his first 11 seasons before going 7-9 in 2017. He was fired with the Packers at 4-7-1 last season.
The 56-year-old McCarthy has already interviewed with Cleveland, Carolina and the New York Giants.
Like McCarthy, Lewis was out of coaching this season after the 61-year-old spent 16 seasons in charge at Cincinnati.
The Cowboys haven’t addressed Garrett’s status publicly, and he continued working at team headquarters in the week after the season ended.
With two-time MVP Aaron Rodgers as his quarterback, McCarthy went 125-77-2 in the regular season in 12-plus seasons with the Packers. McCarthy’s teams made the playoffs nine times, going 10-8. Two of those wins were over Dallas.
The Cowboys believe they have their next franchise quarterback in Dak Prescott, who was the 2016 NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year after replacing the injured Tony Romo and never relinquishing the starting job.
Prescott, whose rookie contract is expiring, and two-time rushing champion Ezekiel Elliott have made the playoffs twice in four seasons and got their first playoff victory in 2018 after losing their postseason debut to Rodgers and McCarthy with Dallas as the NFC’s top seed in 2016.
McCarthy was fired after an embarrassing loss at Lambeau Field to Arizona, a defeat that all but sealed a second straight year without a postseason trip for the Packers when they had made it the previous eight seasons.
The biggest knock on Lewis was his 0-7 playoff record with the Bengals. He had a 131-122-3 record in the regular season and was fired after a third straight losing season in 2018.
With a mandate to get the Cowboys past the divisional round for the first time in nearly 25 years, Garrett couldn’t build on a 3-0 start. Dallas went 4-8 in the next 12 games with a pair of three-game losing streaks.
The Cowboys still had a chance to make the playoffs with a win at Philadelphia in Week 16, but the 17-9 loss handed their postseason fate to the Eagles for the final week. Philadelphia beat the New York Giants 34-17, eliminating Dallas despite its 47-16 win over Washington.
Dallas finished 8-8 four times under Garrett, who has an 87-70 record, including 2-3 in the playoffs, in nine-plus seasons.
Despite never winning more than one playoff game in a season, the 53-year-old Garrett has the club’s second-longest tenure behind Tom Landry.
The Pro Football Hall of Famer Landry led Dallas for the franchise’s first 29 seasons and won two Super Bowls before owner Jerry Jones fired him when he bought the team in 1989. Garrett is Jones’ seventh coach.