ARLINGTON, Texas -- Twenty years after their most recent Super Bowl win, the Dallas Cowboys finished with the franchise's third-worst record since the advent of the 16-game schedule with Sunday's 34-23 loss to the Washington Redskins.
Only the 3-13 finish in 1988, Tom Landry's last year, and the 1-15 finish in 1989, Jimmy Johnson's first year, were worse than 2015's 4-12 mark
"I'm just really taken aback by the fact that we're sitting here with four wins after this year," owner and general manager Jerry Jones said. "This was never anticipated. As a matter of fact, I thought we did one of the best offseason jobs of addressing our needs and really acquiring some serious talent where we had the most need. I thought maybe we'd had the best offseason that we had had. The year before, I was a little skeptical. Last year, you guys made me the executive of the year. This year, I think I'm on my way out."
Jones, of course, is going nowhere. And neither is head coach Jason Garrett, whose record since losing the interim tag after the 2010 season is back to .500 (40-40) after his fifth full season.
"Let me be real clear: There's no thought of replacing Jason. At all," Jones said. "I only say that to get ahead of anything that might be said about me addressing coaching. Jason is the ultimate decision-maker regarding the staff. And so that remains for us to sit down and really evaluate the staff."
Jones said there are four assistant coaches who have expiring contracts. Offensive coordinator Scott Linehan and defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli signed three-year deals after last season.
The Cowboys went 12-4 in 2014 and won a playoff game. The Cowboys were called one of the preseason favorites in the NFC entering the season, but wide receiver Dez Bryant suffered a broken right foot in the season opener and quarterback Tony Romo suffered a broken left collarbone in Week 2.
Bryant played in nine games and had career lows in catches (31), yards (401) and touchdowns (three). He is expected to have surgery in the near future to add to the bone graft he received in September as well as a cleanup of the ankle. Jones said he has been told Bryant should be able to take part in the offseason program.
"No one has given me any indication at any level of our medical stuff or just in general from outside our medical staff, that he's got an issue that would limit him going into our normal training regime, going into training camp, going into the season next year," Jones said.
Romo is expected to be back at full health in a matter of weeks after re-breaking his collarbone on Thanksgiving against the Carolina Panthers. While Jones expects Romo to play at an elite level, his top goal is to find a suitable backup as well as Romo's potential successor.
Moore threw for 435 yards on 33-of-48 passing with three touchdown passes and two interceptions in the loss to Washington. He lost both his starts and finished with four touchdown passes and six interceptions in his three games.
But Jones said Moore can be a viable backup to Romo in 2016.
"My goal was to have Romo be irreplaceable -- that meant he was doing things that very few other people could even think about doing. Well, we got our wish, and he is irreplaceable when he's not in there for what we're doing and for our offense. So, he'll get well and we'll plan as though he's going to play healthy, but at the same time ... when you're up this high in the draft, or you're up this high with ammunition, and you do have a future need at that strategic position, that alone would cause you to start looking at the position." Cowboys owner/general manager Jerry Jones
With a top-five pick, the Cowboys could be in their best position to think about selecting Romo's long-term replacement.
"My goal was to have Romo be irreplaceable -- that meant he was doing things that very few other people could even think about doing," Jones said. "Well, we got our wish, and he is irreplaceable when he's not in there for what we're doing and for our offense. So, he'll get well and we'll plan as though he's going to play healthy, but at the same time ... when you're up this high in the draft, or you're up this high with ammunition, and you do have a future need at that strategic position, that alone would cause you to start looking at the position. So it begets a logical thought that, 'Well, how many times you want to be up here?' You hope you're not here again at this level in the draft, or this level in the overall business of the NFL. As you know, draft picks can mean trades, and it just becomes value, [and] we're sitting here with a quarterback need."
But that's not the only need. The Cowboys can look for cornerback, running back, wide receiver and defensive line help early in the draft as well. Before the draft, the Cowboys will have to make a decision on Greg Hardy, who made roughly $8.8 million in his one season in Dallas.
The Cowboys cannot put the franchise or transition tag on Hardy, per terms of his contract. He had six sacks in 12 games.
Jones said the team has not had in-depth discussions yet regarding the future of Hardy or any of the Cowboys' impending free agents.
"He didn't get the sacks, that type of production, but as a player, he was a valuable part of when we played well as a defense, and we did have a lot of times when we played well," Jones said. "He was an outstanding player, and we may not have gotten his individual sack total up, but he made an impact across the board. He was a good player for us, and we'll evaluate real close any good player."