Latest Arizona Cardinals News and Rumors on Their Head Coach and GM Search

Latest Arizona Cardinals News and Rumors on Their Head Coach and GM Search

Only one team thus far has an opening for a general manager and a head coach, the Arizona Cardinals. After going 4-13 under head coach Kliff Kingsbury, it was clear there was a need for change. General manager Steve Keim stepped away for health reasons, but his job was surely in doubt after mediocre results throughout his tenure.

The Cardinals will likely prioritize finding their general manager first in order to create a symbiotic relationship between the front office and coaching staff. We’ll break down the candidates Arizona has already made contact with in both of their searches. Be sure to check back often for new information in our Cardinals head coach and general manager tracker.

Latest on the Arizona Cardinals Head Coach Search

The Cardinals have only been linked to four coaches thus far. Interestingly enough, three of the four are defensive-minded coaches. That may not seem counterintuitive, considering they’ve come from an offensive-minded coach. However, someone will need to find out how to best utilize and progress Kyler Murray’s career when he returns from injury.

Lou Anarumo, Bengals Defensive Coordinator

Finally, Anarumo has earned an interview for a head coaching job. I don’t understand why it’s taken so long for Anarumo to earn some interest after his second-straight elite season running the Bengals defense. Anarumo has done a spectacular job building a championship-caliber defense with a solid but not elite group of personnel.

The 56-year-old has a history of getting the most out of his positional groups and defenses. He coached in college until 2012 when the Miami Dolphins hired him as their defensive backs coach. His history is in developing unheralded cornerbacks and safeties, in particular.

Maybe he’ll end up topping out as a great coordinator, but the Cardinals are wise to see if he has the leadership qualities that translate to the head coach position.

Sean Payton, former Saints Head Coach

There’s a history between the Cardinals’ ownership and Payton, as he was a ball boy as a kid. Arizona has not only requested an interview with Payton, which can happen no earlier than January 17, but Payton reportedly has done his homework on the Cardinals.

He’s considered a fan of quarterback Kyler Murray, and the Cardinals can offer the unique ability for Payton to run the entire football side of the franchise because no general manager is in place.

Payton will need to consider Murray’s torn ACL, capped-out roster, and thin depth across both sides of the ball. Working with Murray, DeAndre Hopkins (if he’s still on the team), Marquise Brown, and others will be tempting, but this team needs a lot of work. It’ll be important for Payton to build a strong defense, as he eventually did late in his Saints career, in order to complement Murray and his offense.

For Payton, the power and prospect of already having a franchise quarterback is something no other team can offer right now. Of course, he’ll need to have confidence he can get the most out of Murray, who struggled in 2022 despite his tremendous skill set.

For more, check out our Sean Payton NFL Head Coach Profile.

Brian Callahan, Bengals Offensive Coordinator

The Cardinals added another interview request to their list, this time turning to the offensive coordinator of one of the league’s most powerful offenses. Callahan is the son of legendary offensive line coach Bill Callahan and has been the Bengals’ offensive coordinator since 2019. The 38-year-old started coaching in the NFL in 2010 at 26 years old.

Callahan is certainly interesting but he doesn’t have playcalling experience. His background includes being an offensive assistant in Denver and a quarterbacks coach with the Lions and Raiders.

Vance Joseph, Cardinals Defensive Coordinator

Though Joseph’s defense with Arizona fell apart along with the rest of the team in 2022, he helped improve the unit in each of his first three years with the franchise. The Cardinals peaked at 11th in defense in 2021, showing shocking effectiveness as a pass defense despite being devoid of talent in the secondary.

Joseph would probably be a much stronger candidate this offseason if he was able to repeat any of that success this past year, but everything crumbled within the franchise.

The franchise clearly respects the work the 50-year-old has done, and his previous tenure as head coach of the Denver Broncos will be seen as a positive as he searches for his second job in charge. Joseph would be far from a sexy choice considering his issues building a formidable offense in Denver and his lack of high-end defenses throughout his career as a coordinator.

Ejiro Evero, Broncos Defensive Coordinator

The Broncos’ 2022 campaign didn’t go as planned, but defensive coordinator Ejiro Evero’s work is not going unnoticed. Denver’s defense finished third in yards per play allowed and was top-10 in efficiency, and Evero’s handling of his unit during a disastrous season could earn him a head coaching position this offseason.

Evero has been linked to all teams with head coach vacancies — the Panthers, Colts, Texans, Cardinals, and incumbent Broncos. Meanwhile, Denver didn’t allow the Falcons to interview Evero for their defensive coordinator role because they might want to hang onto him even if they hire a different head coach.

For more, check out our Ejiro Evero NFL Head Coach Profile.

Dan Quinn, Cowboys Defensive Coordinator

Dan Quinn is no stranger to the head coaching search process. Along with Hackett and Kevin O’Connell, Quinn was reportedly one of Denver’s three finalists last offseason. He also interviewed with the Bears, Dolphins, Vikings, and Giants last year before accepting a multi-year contract extension to remain with the Cowboys.

Quinn has the experience the Cardinals are looking for, as he guided the Falcons to a 43-42 record and nearly won a Super Bowl. As a coordinator, there hasn’t been anyone better than Quinn over the past two seasons, when the Cowboys’ defense has ranked first in defensive efficiency.

For more, check out our Dan Quinn NFL Head Coach Profile.

Brian Flores, Steelers Linebackers Coach

The Cardinals have been selective with their head coach interviews thus far, with Flores likely in line to be the first external candidate to complete his interview since Payton has to wait until after January 17. Flores notably helped the Miami Dolphins turn their rebuild into a playoff contender. He amassed a 24-25 record in three seasons before being fired.

Flores is a great defensive mind but struggled to put together a competent offensive staff in Miami. There’s no question he helped Miami and Pittsburgh’s defenses improve while he was at each stop but if he can’t identify or attract a quality offensive coordinator, his outlook to be more than a high-end defensive coordinator is non-existent. The Cardinals need to hear a solid plan from Flores to help Murray.

Flores appears to be one of the front-runners for the job entering Championship weekend.

DeMeco Ryans, 49ers Defensive Coordinator

DeMeco Ryans is one of the hottest young coaching names in the NFL, and for good reason. Since becoming the 49ers’ defensive coordinator, arguably no defense has been more formidable. While it took San Francisco a while to round into form in 2021, they were ready to carry the roster to the NFC Championship Game by the time playoff football rolled around.

Ryans has seen defensive success despite not having the on-paper talent of many other elite units in the secondary. Josh Norman played a significant role for them at cornerback in 2021, and the 49ers’ defense survived! Having Nick Bosa and Fred Warner, along with great depth in the front seven, makes things easier.

Frank Reich, former Colts Head Coach

Amassing a 40-33 mark in five seasons with the Colts, Reich was often the victim of not having a quality quarterback at his disposal. He vouched for Carson Wentz and was burned, but the Cardinals won’t have that issue as Murray is entrenched as the franchise icon. Reich finished with winning seasons in three of his five years in Indianapolis.

Reich wouldn’t be especially inspiring as a head coach hire and would likely fit better as the offensive coordinator. The 61-year-old simply failed to develop several of the team’s biggest needs in his tenure, and Arizona should want someone to grow with throughout the future.

Update: Reich was named Panthers head coach on Jan. 26.

Aaron Glenn, Lions Defensive Coordinator

Some candidates make more sense when you consider the big picture over the details. Glenn was a great NFL cornerback for 15 years before moving into coaching, and he’s quickly ascended to the defensive coordinator for Dan Campbell’s Lions. His unit hasn’t ranked well, finishing no better than  28th in points and 29th in yards in two years, but he’s also been working with a unit lacking talent.

Can Glenn create the infectious culture that Campbell has? Arizona could use some fire and personality within its organization. But it feels too early for Glenn to be promoted.

Kellen Moore, Cowboys Offensive Coordinator

The 33-year-old Moore has a strong resume on paper after spending four seasons in Dallas as the OC. He’s produced three top-six scoring offenses and two No. 1 units in yards gained. And yet, Moore is routinely criticized for his usage of playmakers and struggles to be overly creative.

I think some of the criticism is fair, as the Cowboys are far from the 49ers or Eagles in terms of consistent scheming. However, Moore is at least effective with what he’s had available. It’d be worth interviewing Moore to learn more about the structure he’s been operating under with Mike McCarthy above him and whether Moore is being pigeonholed a bit.

Latest on the Arizona Cardinals General Manager Search

The Cardinals have already knocked some of their general manager interviews out. Because of salary cap limitations and the team’s relatively weakened roster after years of poor draft classes, their next personnel man will have their work cut out for them. This job will be more attractive if ownership is willing to take a step back and rebuild a bit. Here are the names we’ve already seen linked to the opening.

Update: Monti Ossenfort was hired as the Cardinals’ general manager on Monday, Jan. 16.

Jerry Reese

Reese is the most established name the Cardinals have talked to and has one of the deepest resumes on the market. The former Giants general manager oversaw the team’s two Super Bowl wins in 2007 and 2011 and served from 2007 until 2017. His most notable acquisitions include Pro Bowlers Jason Pierre-Paul, Odell Beckham Jr., Landon Collins, and Linval Joseph.

MORE: 2023 Head Coach & General Manager Interview Tracker

Reese has a strong scouting background, starting as a college scout for the Giants in 1994 before working his way up. He left the Giants with a relatively weak roster, though, and the team finished 3-13 in his final year. Hiring Reese now would seem like a move that lacks innovation and spark, as the game has changed.

Monti Ossenfort

Ossenfort is the Tennessee Titans’ director of player personnel and has 21 years of NFL experience. He’s been in his current position for three years and was in New England for 15 years previously. It’s possible Ossenfort could be in line for a promotion to the Titans’ general manager role with Jon Robinson recently fired, but he could also be on the outs if head coach Mike Vrabel won that power struggle and wants his own choice of front office personnel.

Ian Cunningham

The Cardinals interviewed Chicago Bears assistant general manager Ian Cunningham on Monday. Cunningham just completed his first season with the Bears, but he’s been in the NFL since 2008. He most recently served as the director of player personnel for the Philadelphia Eagles before moving to Chicago. The Titans also requested an interview with Cunningham.

Ran Carthon

Ran Carthon played running back in the NFL before starting his scouting career with the Atlanta Falcons in 2008. Since then, Carthon has gained experience with the Los Angeles Rams and San Francisco 49ers. He’s been the 49ers’ director of player personnel for the last two seasons. He turns only 42 this February.

Adam Peters

Adam Peters is another 49ers executive the Cardinals are interested in. The assistant general manager has been in the NFL for 20 years, including two years in his current position and four years as the team’s vice president of player personnel. He had previously worked with the Broncos from 2009-2016.

Update: Peters has reportedly turned down Arizona’s request and an interview request from Tennessee.