Kris Richard is one of the most coveted coaches in all of football right now. The Dallas Cowboys assistant is still in his first year with the team, but he is already being sought out as a potential head coach for several wayward candidates. He helped lead the Cowboys to a playoff win on Saturday over his former employer, the Seattle Seahawks, and then spent Sunday interviewing with three franchises: the Miami Dolphins, New York Jets and Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Naturally, the Cowboys would prefer if Richard didn’t get any of those jobs. He has been instrumental for their defense this season, and Jerry Jones even joked to Jon Machota of The Dallas Morning News about the lengths he is willing to go to keep Richard in Dallas.
“I’ve got a house out here between the Oklahoma line and here,” Jones began, “you handcuff him, you tie him up and you don’t let him out until right before the game. That will work. I’ve done things like that before.”
Obviously, Jones is kidding. But he will not doubt go to extreme lengths to keep Richard happy in Dallas. His impact on the Cowboy defense has been remarkable. The Cowboys jumped from No. 25 in total defense last season to No. 7 this season, and they did so with injuries to stars like Sean Lee and David Irving hampering their roster. Richard had previously been a head coaching candidate with other teams before surprisingly being fired by the Seahawks after the 2017 season, so this is not his first go-around the carousel.
But the Cowboys have a few major advantages in keeping Richard. The biggest is where the league is shifting. Most teams seem to prefer the idea of hiring an offensive-minded coach after the success of newcomers like Sean McVay in recent years. Richard is, obviously, a defensive coach, and he is one only a year removed from being fired as a coordinator. The Seahawks improved from 22nd to 17th in total defense this season without Richard despite losing quite a bit of talent in the offseason. There are going to be teams that believe Richard needs more time as an assistant, and perhaps as a coordinator, before he is ready to lead an entire organization.
Richard is going to be a head coach someday. That much seems obvious. It’s just a matter of when—and where. The Cowboys will no doubt offer Richard a raise this offseason, but they could also discuss his potential candidacy for the head job in Dallas in the future. Jason Garrett has come under quite a bit of scrutiny over the past few years, and if he were ever to be fired, Richard would figure to be among the top candidates to replace him. That won’t happen this offseason. If the Cowboys have their way, Richard won’t be anyone’s head coach next season.