UPDATE: The Dallas Cowboys and Mike Zimmer agreed to terms on a contract that makes the former Minnesota Vikings head coach their new defensive coordinator, per NFL Network's Tom Pelissero.
You can view the original story before this breaking news below:
The Dallas Cowboys' defensive coaching staff was poached in the early stages of their offseason, highlighted by defensive coordinator Dan Quinn left to become the head coach for the rival Washington Commanders. The Cowboys had the task of finding Quinn's replacement, and targeted some high-profile names to do so. Then, a report dropped last week the Cowboys planned to hire former Minnesota Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer as their new defensive coordinator, beating the likes of fellow ex-sideline bosses Ron Rivera and Rex Ryan.
But now, there's a chance that Zimmer might not become Dallas' new defensive coordinator.
Before Super Bowl 58, ESPN senior NFL insider Adam Schefter brought up the report of the Cowboys hiring Zimmer as defensive coordinator. Afterward, Ryan, who is on the NFL Countdown panel, said "I'm not so sure Zimmer has that job right now."
Schefter appeared on The Pat McAfee Show on Monday, in which they replayed Ryan's comments from the NFL Countdown panel. Schefter revealed that the Cowboys "loved Rex" and that Zimmer's deal "isn't done yet and they've reached back out to Ryan" for the defensive coordinator position. Specifically, the Cowboys reached out to Ryan "15 minutes before that segment," per Schefter.
Cowboys deal with Mike Zimmer not finalized yet, circling back to Rex Ryan for DC opening
Mike Fisher of CowboysNation reported on Monday that there is an "issue" regarding Dallas' contract negotiations with Zimmer, thus the delay in an official announcement from the team about his hiring as new defensive coordinator.
So, there is a chance that the Cowboys may pass on Zimmer after all of this and land back to Ryan, who hasn't coached in the NFL since being fired as head coach of the Buffalo Bills after the 2016 season.
Ryan made a name for himself as a defensive coordinator early on in his coaching career, where he served in that position for the New Mexico Highlands Cowboys (1989), Morehead State Eagles (1990-93), Cincinnati Bearcats (1996-97), Oklahoma Sooners (1998), and Baltimore Ravens (2005-08). He then received his first head coaching gig with the New York Jets, in which he led them to the AFC Championship Game in his first two seasons. After six years on the job, Ryan was fired as Jets head coach with a 46-50 record. Ryan led the Bills to a 15-16 overall record in his two years as Bills head coach before he was fired.
The current ESPN analyst was in the running for a defensive coordinator job last year, interviewing for the Denver Broncos gig to work under head coach Sean Payton. The Broncos ultimately hired Vance Joseph.
It may not be a hire that Cowboys fans will be thrilled about, but Ryan has won over the Jones family during interviews, based on Schefter's comments. But will Ryan be able to get the most out of the Cowboys' defense when he's been out of coaching for seven years?
Zimmer had the chance to return to the Cowboys, where he served as defensive coordinator from 2000 until 2006. Now, the proverbial pause button has been hit as there was a snag in contract negotiations. We wait to see if it will be Zimmer who becomes the new defensive coordinator, or if it will be Ryan or another name who gets the job.