Jerry Jones stands by Mike McCarthy as head coach at annual ‘State of the Cowboys’ Address

Jones also discusses decision to move on from veteran WR Amari Cooper

Cowboys owner and general manager Jerry Jones at the annual 'State of the Cowboys' Address prior to the start of the 2022 Training Camp in Oxnard, California. (William Caldera, KSAT)

OXNARD, California – Team owner and general manager Jerry Jones took the podium in front of the media at Oxnard, California for the first time on Tuesday morning. Alongside executive vice president, CEO and director of player personnel Stephen Jones and head coach Mike McCarthy, Jerry kicked off training camp with the annual ‘State of the Cowboys’ Address.

One of the biggest topics of contention surrounding Dallas during the offseason was McCarthy’s future with the team. Multiple stories circulated around the notion that McCarthy was looking over his shoulder at his own defensive coordinator, Dan Quinn, who has previous head coaching experience with the Atlanta Falcons from 2015 to 2020. Former Saints head coach Sean Payton’s name was floated in rumors as well. Payton had previous experience with the Cowboys, serving as an assistant head coach and quarterbacks coach from 2003 to 2005. Both Quinn and Payton had previously led teams to Super Bowl appearances.

Many speculated that if the Cowboys stumbled out of the gates in 2022, Jerry would move on from McCarthy and either elevate Quinn or hire Payton to take over. After admitting he was sensitive about addressing the topic, Jones put that speculation to rest early in Tuesday’s press conference.

“I want to be real clear. [McCarthy] wouldn’t be sitting here today if I didn’t think he was the man to lead this team to a Super Bowl,” Jones stated. “He would not be, and I have choices. That’s not meant to be insensitive to anybody. That’s a fact.”

“Jerry’s comments are in line with our conversations,” McCarthy revealed. “Our conversations are about partnership, direction and vision. At the end of the day, we’re here to win a championship.”

Jones’ chances of winning another Super Bowl as the owner of the Cowboys are dwindling. He will turn 80 in October. As a result, there’s a sense of urgency surrounding this season, which puts even more pressure on McCarthy.

“I need to win it,” Jones said. “We need to be in the playoffs. We need to be viable in the playoffs to have a successful season.”

In 2021, the Cowboys finished with a 12-5 record in McCarthy’s second season as head coach, but failed to make it past the first round of the playoffs. They have not played in an NFC Championship Game since their last Super Bowl run in 1996.

Tuesday’s press conference also shed more light on the Cowboys’ decision to part ways with star wide receiver Amari Cooper. The team declined to guarantee his $20 million salary for 2022 as part of his five-year, $100 million-contract extension. Jones alluded to the fact that Cooper missed 3 games last season after contracting COVID-19. Cooper declined to get vaccinated, which was a big factor in Jones’ decision to let Cooper walk.

FILE - Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Amari Cooper (19) runs with the ball during the first half of an NFL football game against the Washington Football Team, on Dec. 12, 2021, in Landover, Md. The Cleveland Browns have found their No. 1 wide receiver, agreeing to a deal with the Cowboys for Cooper, a person familiar with the negotiations told the Associated Press on Saturday, March 12, 2022. The Browns will send a fifth- and sixth-round draft pick in 2022 to Dallas for Cooper, said the person who spoke on condition of anonymity because the teams can not complete the swap until the new league year begins next Wednesday. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon, File) (Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

“When you have that kind of responsibility -- which you do when you have that much of the financial pie -- those decisions are made more about availability than ability,” Jones explained.

With Cooper gone and Michael Gallup still recovering from ACL surgery, the Cowboys will likely have to rely on dynamic wide receiver CeeDee Lamb and draft pick Jalen Tolbert to lead the passing attack.

The Cowboys hit the field for their first practice on Wednesday.

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About the Authors:

Greg Simmons is the sports director and a sports anchor for KSAT 12.

Andrew has covered athletics of all levels for more than five years and is dedicated to shining a spotlight on local San Antonio athletes and their stories.