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Mike McCarthy doesn’t guarantee Kellen Moore will return

Mike Florio and Chris Simms explain why it feels like a “half-measure” for Dallas to get rid of five assistant coaches but hold onto Mike McCarthy and question what could be coming next.

Cowboys offensive coordinator Kellen Moore was a candidate for the Panthers’ head coaching job. He didn’t get that job, with the Panthers announcing Frank Reich as their new head coach Thursday.

The question now is: Will Moore have a job with the Cowboys after this week?

The Cowboys surely did not want to sabotage Moore’s chances of getting the Panthers’ job, but now that Carolina has a head coach, the team could move on from Moore.

Cowboys coach Mike McCarthy did not guarantee Moore’s return during his news conference Thursday. McCarthy said he will meet with Moore possibly as soon as Friday and called the evaluation process ongoing.

“I really don’t want to play this game today,” McCarthy said when asked a second time about Moore. “It’s been a long couple of days. Kellen Moore, just like the rest of the coaches, will be evaluated. Every coach will be evaluated. The evaluations, it takes more than one day.”

Moore has served as the team’s offensive coordinator for four seasons, keeping the job after McCarthy become the head coach in 2020. With Moore calling the plays, the Cowboys twice ranked first in yards (2019, 2021) and once ranked first in points (2021). They were 11th in yards and fourth in points this season, but they have not gotten beyond the divisional round since 1995.

McCarthy said he does not have a timeline for finishing staff evaluations.

The Cowboys announced they have parted ways with six assistants whose contracts are expiring at the end of the 2022 league year. They still could lose defensive coordinator Dan Quinn, who is a candidate for the Broncos’ head coaching job.

“I feel good about where we are,” McCarthy said of Quinn’s possible departure for a head coaching job. “I feel good about our assistant coaches and what we’ve established on defense. In two years, we took a step. I think from a staff structure, we’ll give Dan his due time. Hopefully we’ll have an answer sooner than later.”