USA Today

Kellen Moore's goal when he entered the coaching ranks via the Dallas Cowboys was to make himself a hot commodity. His career arc is currently such that one day soon he'll be one of the most discussed names for a potential head coaching spot in the NFL, but for now, it's the collegiate game that keeps tugging at his heart strings. In 2019, it was the University of Washington attempting to woo him away from North Texas to become their offensive coordinator and, one year later, his beloved Boise State Broncos want to interview him for their vacant head coach position. 

As it stands, sources tell CBS Sports there has been at least one informal conversation between Moore and Boise State to gauge interest, but a formal interview has not occurred yet -- although it is expected to happen soon.

For his part, Moore readily admits his already well-known affection for the Broncos and what the opportunity might mean for him, but he also knows he has to stay focused on the task at hand, which is namely trying to defeat the New York Giants in Week 17 to have one final shot at possibly stealing the NFC East crown and landing a seat in the playoffs because of it; two things no one expected the Cowboys to have a chance at doing a few weeks ago.

"Obviously, Boise is a unique one for me, special to me," Moore told media one day after helping to lead the Cowboys in a blowout must-win over the Philadelphia Eagles. "I love that place. Obviously, just going through the process right now. I'm just focused on this game. 

"We'll kind of let all this stuff play out and see where it takes us."

Separate sources confirmed on Monday to CBS Sports that Moore is operating in a contract year with Dallas, a point that only adds to his leverage in his coming decision. When asked about his mindset as he tries to punctuate his second year as the team's offensive coordinator, and in the absence of two-time Pro Bowl quarterback Dak Prescott, no less, Moore opted to play coy in his response -- redirecting the energy back to the task at hand.

"Yeah, I think I just got to go through this process," he said. "I don't think it's fair to comment right now too much about it. I think I just got to go through the process and see where it's at. Obviously, [I'm] really focused on that we have -- this awesome chance to win the NFC East, as crazy as this season has been. 

"So let's go for this thing and let's see what happens."

One thing Moore wasn't shy about confessing is his end game, which is to sit in the lead seat for a football team, eventually.

"Yeah, I want to be a head coach," he said. "I don't know the answer to that one necessarily, but I think like anything, really I'm really focused on this job right now. Again, we'll go through this process and we'll see where it's at. That was really boring, guys, sorry."

Time will tell if eventually has already arrived, but the expectation is for both Moore and Boise State will wait until the Cowboys season concludes before accelerating talks. At that point, the talented coordinator will need to decide between the path to an NFL head coaching role that's currently being carved out on the most visible team on the planet -- with a boatload of talent, to boot -- or to return and rebirth a school that owns so much real estate in his heart from his days as Boise State's record-breaking quarterback.

And there's the added question of financial offers from both sides, with owner Jerry Jones often showing just how deep his pockets can be when he needs to. He's also not afraid to pay a talented offensive coordinator more than his head coach, as evidenced when he did so for Jason Garrett during the Wade Phillips regime, particularly when he has longterm plans for said coordinator. Moore is one the Joneses have been grooming for a while now -- from backup quarterback to quarterbacks coach to offensive coordinator all in the span of three seasons -- and the Cowboys won't make it easy for him to walk away, financially speaking.

But, in the end, they know he still might, and Jones wouldn't be upset if he did.

"Remember the two buzzards sitting on the limb?" the Hall of Fame owner said to 105.3FM the Fan on Tuesday, when asked about the possibility of Moore leaving. "The one says, 'Patience my ass, I'm gonna kill something.' As they surveyed the landscape."

"I'm not really demeaning patience. You've got to have it, I guess. But the bottom line is: when it's there, take it."

He certainly might.