Lincoln Riley the top name to watch if Cowboys part ways with Jason Garrett?
The likelihood of Jason Garrett losing his job is increasing by the week, and the belief is that Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones is planning to make a big splash to replace him. If the two sides do end up parting ways, it has become clear that Lincoln Riley will be a name to watch.
Riley is considered one of the top candidates to become the next head coach of the Cowboys. As Ian Rapoport of NFL Network noted on Sunday, the Jones family has a close relationship with Riley from when Riley recruited Jones’ grandson, former top high school QB prospect John Stephen Jones.
From @NFLGameDay: The #Cowboys won't fire Jason Garrett midseason, but why is #Oklahoma coach Lincoln Riley a name to watch if they do? The Jones family already is close to Riley thanks to the courtship of walk-on QB John Stephen Jones… who ended up at Arkansas. pic.twitter.com/qgUgSexs9h
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) December 1, 2019
“Lincoln Riley did an in-home visit with the Joneses, and it was at that point that they realized how brilliant he was,” Rapoport said. “They watched film together and it went extremely well.”
John Stephen Jones eventually ended up at Arkansas after Riley tried to get him to walk on at Oklahoma, but there is a mutual level of respect between Riley and the Jones family.
Riley has repeatedly said that he loves it at Oklahoma and has no plans to leave, but the Cowboys’ head coaching job is one of the most prestigious in all of sports. Dallas is certainly not the only NFL team that would try to hire Riley away from the Sooners, but the job is likely one of the few — if not the only — that the 36-year-old would strongly consider.
Young, offensive-minded NFL head coaches like Sean McVay and Matt LaFleur have made Riley an even hotter commodity with the early success they enjoyed with their teams. The Cowboys are still very much in the playoff hunt at 6-6 and are in first in the NFC East, but the latest report we heard about Garrett’s job security does not sound promising for him. Riley would bring the type of excitement and positive reaction to Dallas that Jones is always seeking.