Sources: Niners make lucrative bid to retain Turner

Updated: January 30, 2007, 9:26 AM ET
By Ed Werder | ESPN.com

The San Francisco 49ers are offering Norv Turner a lucrative incentive package in his contract in a bid to persuade him to remain and continue developing quarterback Alex Smith, rather than interviewing for the Dallas Cowboys' head-coaching position, according to sources.

Seeking a replacement for retired head coach Bill Parcells, Cowboys owner Jerry Jones interviewed San Diego Chargers defensive coordinator Wade Phillips through the morning and into the early afternoon Friday. Phillips also discussed the team's personnel with Parcells, who has also been offering Jones his opinion on the coaching candidates.

Jones is expected to interview New Orleans Saints defensive coordinator Gary Gibbs on Saturday and then Turner sometime after Saturday's Senior Bowl in Mobile, Ala., where Turner and the 49ers coaching staff are working.

While the Cowboys have insisted that newly hired Jason Garrett remains under consideration for the head coaching position, it appears they have become comfortable with him as the next offensive coordinator.

It now appears that Jones will pair Garrett -- whom he views as the Cowboys' head coach as soon as 2008 -- with either Turner or Phillips. If the Cowboys are comfortable with Garrett running the entire offensive side of the ball, even though he has only two years of coaching experience and has never called plays, they would be more inclined to offer the job to Phillips.

But if they decide Garrett requires a mentor, then the job probably belongs to Turner.

Phillips, the former head coach at Denver and Buffalo who also had interim stints in New Orleans and Atlanta, said he had a "very encompassing talk" with Jones. Phillips has a 48-39 coaching record.

"I'm going to go on my record," Phillips said. "I've won as a head coach, been in the playoffs three out of the five years I've been a head coach. ... I have a lot of experience; I've been 30 years in the league, 25 as either a head coach or coordinator."

Although Phillips didn't get a timetable from Jones about when a decision would be made, Phillips doesn't expect it to be a long time.

"I don't think it will be a long drawn out process," he said. "That's what I've been told."

Phillips said he met with Garrett and Parcells while at Valley Ranch.

"I know Jason," Phillips said. "I think he's a bright young mind that's going to do well in this league. He's one of those rising stars."

Ed Werder covers the NFL for ESPN. Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.

Ed Werder

ESPN NFL Insider

ALSO SEE