It seemed like the Dallas Cowboys had their new defensive coordinator. All the reports out of Dallas had suggested that the Cowboys were bringing in experienced coach Mike Zimmer as Dan Quinn's replacement.
Jerry Jones himself said on Thursday night that he "had been on the phone all afternoon with [their] future defensive coach". Rumors even emerged that the Cowboys would consider Zimmer as their Mike McCarthy replacement at the end of the season.
However, there might be a new front-runner emerging to take the DC job instead of Zimmer.
Rex Ryan Emerging as Cowboys DC Candidate
NFL insider Adam Schefter joined the Pat McAfee Show to provide the latest news on the Cowboys' defensive coordinator search. Claiming that the deal for Zimmer is not done, Schefter said the Cowboys reached back out to Rex Ryan for the position.
The Cowboys have previously interviewed Ryan during the hiring process and were impressed with the 61-year-old former head coach.
Ryan himself confirmed Schefter's reporting during ESPN's Sunday NFL Countdown show ahead of the Super Bowl, stating that he doesn't believe Zimmer has the job.
The position being down to Ryan and Zimmer makes sense. Both coaches are two of the most experienced play-callers available on the market, with extensive tenures as head coaches.
The Cowboys have made it clear that they are going all-in in 2024, therefore looking for the highest-profile candidates as possible to strengthen McCarthy's staff.
Even though Ryan hasn't coached in seven years, he remains one of the most respected minds in football. He is still remembered for his impressive run of back-to-back AFC championship game appearances with the New York Jets.
Ryan throwing his hat in the ring after all these years is certainly understandable. The defensive coordinator job in Dallas is one of the most attractive non-head coaching jobs in the NFL.
Stacked with elite talent up and down the defensive units, whoever gets the job will have an excellent chance to create one of the most formidable defenses in the league, setting themselves up for future success afterward.
UPDATE — Mon, Feb. 12 4:05 p.m. ET: Apparently nothing came of those rumors from Schefter. Tom Pelissero has reported that the hiring is now a done deal, with Zimmer and the Cowboys having agreed to terms.