Sunday, January 23, 2022

Dan Quinn interest tracker: Bears join mix of NFL teams seeking interview with popular Cowboys coordinator

Dan Quinn is having quite the start to the 2022 calendar year, especially when considering where he stood exactly one year ago. The 51-year-old was a free agent after having been fired as head coach of the Atlanta Falcons during the 2020 season, forced to re-evaluate what direction he wanted to take in his coaching career. His departure from North Georgia not only forced the Dallas Cowboys into a decision they needed to make anyway, namely the firing of defensive coordinator Mike Nolan after only one abysmal season, but also to pivot on their list of potential replacements for Nolan and race full speed toward giving Quinn a call.

The rest is history, with Quinn having accepted the role in North Texas. He’s not only made what was a franchise-worst defense better — in only one year — but he’s turned it into arguably the best defense in the league, one that leads the NFL in takeaways and has used breakout seasons from rookie first-round pick Micah Parsons and Trevon Diggs to weather a storm of injuries en route to helping a struggling offense find its way to the playoffs. 

And as the team readies to host the San Francisco 49ers on Super Wild Card Weekend with eyes on Super Bowl LVI, one that has a remote chance of being held at AT&T Stadium, Quinn finds himself as one of the hottest commodities in the head coach vacancy news cycle only 12 months after being anything but. Several teams have already requested interviews with the red-hot Cowboys coordinator, who notes he’s “having the time of his life” with his weapons in Dallas. That will make it difficult to pry him away after only one year with them, but that won’t stop teams from rightfully breaking out the crowbar to try to separate him from them and Jerry Jones’ bottomless checkbook.

Here are the interested parties, with more likely to arrive over the next several days and weeks, according to multiple reports and as confirmed by sources to CBS Sports.

Bears

Status: Request for interview

Following suit with the likes of the Vikings, Dolphins, Jaguars and Broncos, the Bears parted ways with their head coach — Matt Nagy — to clear the way for a new era to be ushered in. This is a legacy franchise that, like the Cowboys, carries a lot of prestige for any head coach who takes the reins. But unlike the Cowboys, it isn’t already loaded with talent and will require some fixing, especially on the offensive side of the ball (much like the Broncos). What’s more is in how the Bears, after firing general manager Ryan Pace as well, need to identify a new GM who must also endorse/marry the incoming head coach. It’s a lot more moving pieces than what’s going on in Denver and Jacksonville, which gives Quinn more to think about when considering taking on a position for a franchise that doesn’t yet know who’ll be conducting their NFL Draft and free agency going forward.

Jaguars

Status: Request for interview

In the least attractive option on this list and in the league, by a country mile, the Jaguars sought permission to interview Quinn during the last two weeks of the regular season, but were met with a cold shoulder. Quinn made it clear he declined due to his decision to instead focus on the task at-hand, which was trying to lift the Cowboys to the franchise’s sixth Super Bowl win. This still allows for Quinn to interview with Jacksonville following the season, but considering his next stint at head coach will need to be super attractive to pull him away from the Legion of Boom 2.0 he’s building in Dallas, along with the accompanying direct deposits, there’s nothing about going from a struggling Falcons team to one of the most toxic organizations in the league (who is now looking for a third head coach in as many seasons) that will make Quinn take them seriously.

Broncos

Status: Request for interview

This is a position that will be attractive to Quinn, especially considering his relationship with general manager George Paton, one that spans years and is very, very strong. Having swiftly fired Vic Fangio following the conclusion of the season, one that adds to their growing list of absences from the NFL playoffs, the Broncos are in dire need of a proven football mind who can get things turned around in the Mile High City. It’s expected Quinn will at least do Paton the favor of discussing the position with him, but it’s unknown if the offer will be enough to get Quinn out of Dallas or, contrarily, if they simply choose to move in a different direction — considering they’re arguably more in need of an offensive mind to fix that side of the ball and, as such, explains why they’re also seeking an interview with Cowboys coordinator Kellen Moore. Denver is doing a ton of due diligence, and Quinn is on the list for obvious and quantifiable reasons.

Dolphins

Status: Request for interview

In an absolute stunner, the Dolphins divorced Brian Flores as head coach on Monday, after seeing him recover from a rough start in 2021 that including sweeping his former team in the New England Patriots (a playoff team) while also developing quarterback Tua Tagovailoa in the process. But as Flores now looks forward to what will be a long list of suitors that rivals what Quinn’s will look like, including a competing interest between the two from the Bears, the shores of South Florida would like to have a word with Quinn. While not nearly the equivalent of that situation, he wouldn’t be the first Cowboys coach to head to Miami, and the Dolphins have a lot of draft capital to work with to help build the roster he wants. But he’d first have to believe Tagovailoa is a Super Bowl-capable QB and, well, that it makes sense to join an organization that just axed a guy after winning eight of his last nine games.

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