Jason Garrett: I don't think much about contract status

INDIANAPOLIS -- Jason Garrett heads into a proverbial lame-duck season as the Dallas Cowboys head coach but isn't fretting about his contract status.

Garrett brushed aside multiple questions Wednesday at the NFL Scouting Combine about spending 2019 on the final year of his deal.

"I don't really have any feelings about that," he said of his contract. "I've always just tried to focus on doing my job as well as I can do it and building a team we can all be proud of, and we'll just continue to do that. Never spent much time thinking of the business part of my job."

Garrett said his contract status doesn't add pressure to an already high-strain job as coach of the Cowboys.

"No. Every one of us tries to come into our building with a sense of urgency every day," he said. "We try to do our best individually. We try to be our best for our football team. That hasn't changed for me in 30 years. That's what we try to instill in our players, and we certainly want to live that as coaches."

On Tuesday, Cowboys executive vice president Stephen Jones noted that "everybody's backs are against the wall" in Dallas.

Garrett responded to that comment saying he's always coached and played with a back-against-the-wall mentality.

"I don't think much about that," he said. "I think that sense of urgency and that backs-to-the-wall mentality is something that we've always tried to instill in our team. I certainly felt that as a player."

It's not the first time Garrett headed into a season as a lame-duck coach. In 2014, Garrett was on the final year of his contract, and the Cowboys went 12-4, won the NFC East, and beat the Detroit Lions in the Wild Card Round before falling to the Green Bay Packers in the Divisional Round.

The Cowboys hope the sense of urgency surrounding Garrett's contract status, along with the changes on the offensive staff, spurs Dallas to even higher heights this time around.

Other nuggets from Jason Garrett's media session at the NFL Scouting Combine:

  1. Garrett intimated linebacker Sean Lee remains in the team's plan in 2019.

"He's a really good football player," Garrett said. "... He's got a lot of football left in him, and he'll be part of what we're doing going forward."

Lee remaining on the Cowboys would likely come with a pay cut from his base $7 million salary.

Garrett credited Lee with aiding young linebackers Jaylon Smith and Leighton Vander Esch last season. The issue with Lee has not been production, but rather a persistent injury history. The 32-year-old missed nine games in 2018.

"Unfortunately that's something Sean has dealt with for a large part of his career, and nobody cares about it more than Sean Lee, nobody works harder than Sean Lee," Garrett said. "But unfortunately durability has been an issue. That was a big reason we drafted these young linebackers the past couple years because Sean has missed time, and he'd be the first to tell you that. But when he has played, he's played well. He's had a big impact on our football team, not only what he's doing on the field, but what he does off the field with his leadership."

  1. Garrett said he wants free-agent receiver Cole Beasley back in 2019.

"We love Cole Beasley," Garrett said. "...Cole Beasley knows how much I love him, our coaching staff loves him, our organization loves him, his teammates love him. He's been a hell of a player for us, and we want him here in Dallas. He certainly knows that."

Beasley made headlines this offseason suggesting the front office dictated where passes were thrown.

  1. On DeMarcus Lawrence: "We want DeMarcus Lawrence to be with the Dallas Cowboys for a long, long time."
  1. Garrett said the team anticipates center Travis Frederick, who missed the entire 2018 campaign following a diagnosis of Guillain-Barre syndrome, "back and ready to go in the offseason conditioning program."
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