Jason Garrett will return as coach of the Dallas Cowboys next season after leading them to a 5-3 record as the replacement for the fired Wade Phillips, ESPN reported citing people familiar with the team that it didn’t identify.
Garrett, 44, spent 3 1/2 seasons as offensive coordinator in Dallas. He turned down a head coaching offer from the Baltimore Ravens and became the National Football League’s highest-paid assistant at $3.5 million per year, according to ESPN.
Cowboys spokesman Rich Dalrymple didn’t return a voicemail seeking comment.
After the Cowboys started 1-7, owner Jerry Jones fired Phillips and promoted Garrett on an interim basis. Garrett won his first two games, against the New York Giants and Detroit Lions, and the team finished 6-10, tied for last in the National Football Conference East.
Under Garrett, the Cowboys averaged 29.1 points a game, more than a touchdown improvement on the 20.1 points under Phillips. The Cowboys had the worst scoring defense in the NFC when Phillips was fired and it remained the worst at the end of the season. Dallas allowed 27.2 points per game this year, its highest average in more than 20 seasons.
Jones said at the time of the promotion that Garrett was a part of the Cowboys’ long-term thinking and that he thought the former offensive coordinator had the ability to change the culture in the locker room.
Garrett played eight NFL seasons as a quarterback with the Cowboys and New York Giants. A graduate of Princeton University in 1989, Garrett holds the Ivy League record with a 66.5 career completion percentage.
He is the second interim head coach to get the job full-time this offseason. On Jan. 3, the Minnesota Vikings hired Leslie Frazier after he posted a 3-3 record as a midseason replacement for Brad Childress.