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Commanders to hire Cowboys DC Dan Quinn as new head coach, per reports

The Washington Commanders are hiring Dallas Cowboys defensive coordinator Dan Quinn as their new head coach, according to multiple media reports Thursday.

The Cowboys, meanwhile, are reportedly interviewing Quinn's Washington predecessor Ron Rivera for the defensive coordinator opening in Dallas.

This is Quinn's second head-coaching opportunity. The 53-year-old previously led the Atlanta Falcons from 2015-20, going 43-42 over six seasons and 3-2 in the playoffs. His tenure featured an unforgettable loss in Super Bowl LI, which saw the Falcons lead 28-3 before Tom Brady and the New England Patriots came back for the victory.

With Quinn, the Cowboys boasted one of the best defenses in the NFL. He had an immediate impact in his first year, leading Dallas to improve from 28th in points allowed in 2020 to seventh in 2021. The Cowboys led the league in interceptions during Quinn's first campaign as well, as then-rookie linebacker Micah Parsons and cornerback Trevon Diggs posted All-Pro seasons. In the 2022 and 2023 regular seasons under Quinn, the Cowboys were fifth in points allowed.

FILE - Dallas Cowboys defensive coordinator Dan Quinn looks on prior to an NFL football game against the Detroit Lions, Saturday, Dec. 30, 2023, in Arlington, Texas. The Washington Commanders have an agreement with Dallas Cowboys defensive coordinator Dan Quinn to hire him as coach, according to two people with knowledge of the decision. The people spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity Thursday, Feb. 1, 2024, because the team had not yet announced the move.(AP Photo/Sam Hodde, File)
Dallas Cowboys defensive coordinator Dan Quinn is headed to Washington. (AP Photo/Sam Hodde, File) (ASSOCIATED PRESS)

Quinn was reported to have interviewed with the Commanders, Carolina Panthers, Los Angeles Chargers, Tennessee Titans and Seattle Seahawks over the past few weeks.

While he was reportedly slated for a second round with the Titans, it was canceled when they picked Bengals offensive coordinator Brian Callahan as their guy.

Quinn was then down to second interviews with his new team and the Seahawks, who selected Baltimore Ravens defensive coordinator Mike Macdonald to replace longtime head coach Pete Carroll. Landing the Seahawks gig would've represented a homecoming of sorts for Quinn, considering that he served as the team's defensive coordinator in 2013-14 and the defensive line coach from 2009 to 2010.

The lane apparently opened for Quinn to join the Commanders when Detroit Lions offensive coordinator Ben Johnson informed Washington and the Seahawks that he would be running it back for one more season. Johnson, a top prospect, reportedly alerted the Commanders he was out of the running when Quinn had just finished his second interview with the team.

Quinn will now join Commanders general manager Adam Peters and new team owner Josh Harris in the attempt to usher in a new era for Washington. Rivera never put together a winning record in his four seasons as head coach before he was fired in January.

2024 NFL head-coaching cycle ends

With Quinn's hiring, the last vacancy of the 2024 NFL head-coaching cycle has been filled. Here's how it all panned out:

(Amber Matsumoto/Yahoo Sports)
(Amber Matsumoto/Yahoo Sports) (Yahoo Sports)

Among the group of candidates who did not land head-coaching jobs this cycle: Patriots legend Bill Belichick, longtime Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll, former Titans head coach Mike Vrabel, Commanders assistant head coach/offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy, Lions defensive coordinator Aaron Glenn, Ravens defensive line/associate head coach Anthony Weaver, Giants offensive coordinator Mike Kafka and Panthers defensive coordinator Ejiro Evero.