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Dan Quinn returns to Cowboys: Why DC remained in Dallas despite head coaching interest from Broncos, Cardinals

It had been widely expected that Dan Quinn would bid adieu to the Cowboys after the 2023 season. The 52-year old had revitalized Dallas’ defense, helming a much-improved unit that gave up just 20.1 points per game, tied for the fifth-best total in the league.

Given Quinn’s wealth of experience as a head coach, it seemed he would be picking up the headset for someone else come the start of the new year. That won’t happen, though. On Thursday, Quinn announced his intention to return to Dallas for 2023.

“I’m staying with the Cowboys,” Quinn told “We’ve still got unfinished business at The Star!’

It’s a move that caught many by surprise. According to NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero, Quinn was one of the top candidates for the Cardinals’ head-coaching gig. He also held interviews with the Broncos and Colts over their previous head coaching vacancies.

But Quinn feels home at Dallas. And the Cowboys are plenty grateful, particularly as speculation swirls regarding the status of offensive coordinator Kellen Moore, another highly-touted talent expected to be in the running for head coaching gigs across the league.

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“We’re all extremely excited to have Dan back,” Cowboys head coach Mike McCarthy said Thursday, per The Athletic. “This is big for us. It gives us continuity. Frankly, on a personal note, I can’t tell you how thankful I am.”

By agreeing to stay with America’s Team, Quinn will make himself a nice bit of dough. Last year, owner Jerry Jones told Dallas Morning News that the Cowboys and Quinn agreed on a multi-year extension for him to stay on amid interest elsewhere. Per Spotrac, Quinn inked a deal with $4.5 million last year.

That’s head coach-type money. With financial security and a bevy of options, Quinn was capable of choosing his next spot on his own accord. Additionally, many believe Quinn to be the head coach in waiting should Jerry Jones move on from McCarthy. That, coupled with his affinity for Dallas’ roster, seemingly made the decision to stay that much easier.

“I think clearly Dan is in a position to be selective and I’m extremely excited about the decision,” McCarthy said.

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Quinn told The Score’s Jordan Schultz that he felt comfortable in Dallas.

Quinn has, alongside Micah Parsons, help propelled the Cowboys’ defense to one of the best in the league. If he can do so again, he’ll likely still have suitors, just as he did last offseason. With a gaudy extension in his hand and the possibility of a Super Bowl looming large, Quinn’s move to stay in Dallas might not be the shock it was first billed to be.


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