Cowboys announce 6 assistants will not return, including one who shaped Micah Parsons

As the Dallas Cowboys begin retooling their strategy toward the 2023 season, key questions await answers outside the franchise’s control.

Namely: How many of the Cowboys’ coordinators will return?

Defensive coordinator Dan Quinn seems the least likely to return with a rush of head-coaching interest. Quinn has already interviewed twice for the Arizona Cardinals' vacancy, once for the Denver Broncos' vacancy and virtually for the Indianapolis Colts — with an in-person interview scheduled in Indianapolis on Saturday, per multiple media reports.

Offensive coordinator Kellen Moore spent two days interviewing this week for the Carolina Panthers’ head role, per multiple reporters.

So Dallas head coach Mike McCarthy, coming up on his fourth season at the helm, cannot yet account for all staff variables in the days following the Cowboys' 19-12 divisional-round loss to the San Francisco 49ers. But as exit interviews with players and staff members progressed this week, at least six assistants will not return from this staff.

Senior defensive assistant George Edwards, who guided All-Pro Micah Parsons’ linebacker/edge rusher development through his first two seasons, was one of the biggest surprises among those not renewed.

The Cowboys also did not renew the contract of running backs coach Skip Peete, who coached Tony Pollard to his first Pro Bowl season and oversaw a 24-touchdown running back tandem in Pollard and Ezekiel Elliott.

Leon Lett was one of the Cowboys assistant coaches let go on Thursday. (Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images)
Leon Lett was one of the Cowboys assistant coaches let go on Thursday. (Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images)

Offensive line coach Joe Philbin, assistant defensive line coach Leon Lett, assistant head coach Rob Davis and quality control analytics coach Kyle Valero also will not return. Philbin helped stabilize Dallas’ line this season, including with the quick and productive acclimation of rookie first-rounder Tyler Smith to a hybrid left tackle/left guard role. McCarthy credited Valero with a playbook crash course for veteran receiver T.Y. Hilton, whom Dallas signed in December.

“We thank these men for their hard work, dedication and contributions to the Cowboys,” McCarthy said in a statement Thursday. “Each of them represented our team and organization at a high, professional level with class and commitment to making our team better.”

The Cowboys’ loss Sunday at the 49ers marked their 27th straight year falling short of a conference championship appearance, much less a Super Bowl title. But under McCarthy, the team has grown from an injury-riddled 6-10 initial campaign to a 12-5 season and wild-card exit in Year 2 and then a 12-5 performance and divisional-round exit in Year 3. The postseason success is short of the vision McCarthy, who won a Super Bowl as Green Bay Packers head coach, was hired to provide. Progress has been steady, the Cowboys also qualifying for back-to-back playoffs for the first time in 15 years.

Cowboys owner and general manager Jerry Jones hasn’t wavered on McCarthy’s job security in recent months, voicing support for him after each of the playoff contests.

The composition of McCarthy’s 2023 staff, particularly at coordinator, remains a work in progress.

McCarthy is scheduled to address Dallas reporters on the staff changes and broader season at 4 p.m. ET Thursday.

“These were difficult decisions to make because of the great respect I have for each of them as a coach and person of character, combined with the experiences we’ve all gone through together,” McCarthy said in the statement. “This is the hardest part of the business and we wish them nothing but the best.”

Follow Yahoo Sports’ Jori Epstein on Twitter @JoriEpstein