FRISCO, Texas — The Dallas Cowboys have agreed to terms with Mike Zimmer to become the team’s new defensive coordinator, the team can confirm, as the two reached an agreement Monday afternoon after it was initially announced that he was the choice Thursday night.
Zimmer, 67, returns to Dallas — where he was defensive coordinator from 2000 to 2006 and a defensive assistant for seven years before that — to assist Mike McCarthy as he enters the fifth and final year of his contract with the team.
Although it took Zimmer a few days to come to terms with the team, the two sides were able to close the deal after a Super Bowl weekend in which Jerry Jones and the front office traveled to Las Vegas. Rex Ryan – who was interviewed for the job last Tuesday – said on ESPN NFL Sunday Countdown As of Sunday morning, the deal was still not finalized as the two men worked on an agreement, but that deal was signed Monday once Jones and the front office were able to re-enter the building.
Zimmer replaces Dan Quinn – who took over as head coach of the Washington Commanders on February 1 – after being out of the NFL since 2021. After leaving Dallas in 2006, Zimmer served as the defensive coordinator for the Cincinnati Bengals from 2008 to 2013 before serving as the head coach of the Minnesota Vikings from 2014 to 2021. His eight seasons as head coach saw him lead the Vikings to the playoffs three times, including an appearance in the NFC championship game in 2017.
At every stop Zimmer has made as a defensive coordinator or head coach, he has had multiple top-five seasons in total defense, with the Cowboys being first and fourth in total defense in 2001 and 2003, respectively, with the Bengals being third and fourth in 2013 and 2009, respectively, and the Vikings being first, third and fourth in 2017, 2016 and 2018, respectively.
Zimmer inherits a defense that has three first-team All-Pro players in Micah Parsons, DaRon Bland and Trevon Diggs, as well as a good amount of talent around them. Key decisions loom this offseason, such as the team’s decision on key free agents such as Stephon Gilmore, Jourdan Lewis, Jayron Kearse and Johnathan Hankins, as well as draft decisions that could help Dallas better defend the run. 2024. As a coordinator or head coach, Zimmer has seven defenses in 22 seasons that finished in the top 10 in rushing defenses.
Zimmer is expected to arrive in Dallas later this week to officially begin his second term in Dallas.
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