Oct 24, 2021; Glendale, Arizona, USA; Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray (1) against the Houston Texans in the second half at State Farm Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
The Arizona Cardinals are still trying to find a new head coach, and there are some who believe their star quarterback is making the search more difficult.
Two of Arizona’s candidates came off the board when Frank Reich was hired by the Carolina Panthers and Sean Payton took the Denver Broncos job. That has sent the Cardinals a bit deeper down their list. Tony Pauline of Pro Football Network says he was told by NFL personnel at the Senior Bowl in Mobile, Ala., this week that some of Arizona’s desired candidates do not want to be tied to Kyler Murray for the next four seasons.
That may have been the case for Reich and Payton. Murray has already developed a reputation for being difficult to coach. He openly butted heads with former Cardinals head coach Kliff Kingsbury, who was fired at the end of the season. Had Murray and Kingsbury gotten a long, Arizona probably would not have made a coaching change.
Murray was also ripped after the season by an anonymous teammate who questioned the former No. 1 overall pick’s work ethic.
Still, Murray is a star quarterback with a huge ceiling. Even if he needs to mature, there should be plenty of young coaches who are willing to work with him. Perhaps the latest candidate the Cardinals are reportedly targeting will relish the opportunity.
A Cincinnati Bengals assistant coach is emerging as a candidate for the head coach positions of the Indianapolis Colts and Arizona Cardinals.
Bengals offensive coordinator Brian Callahan interviewed with the Colts on Wednesday for the second time. He is one of seven candidates to receive a second interview with Indianapolis.
In addition to talking with the Colts on Wednesday, Callahan is scheduled to talk with the Cardinals on Thursday.
Callahan, 38, has been the offensive coordinator for the Bengals since 2019, which is when Zac Taylor was hired as their head coach. The Bengals have been seventh in the league in points the last two regular seasons, both when Joe Burrow was healthy. Taylor calls the plays for the offense.
Callahan is the son of former Raiders and Nebraska coach Bill Callahan. He began his NFL career as an assistant for the 2010 Denver Broncos. He remained with the Broncos through 2015 before being hired by the Lions and then the Raiders. The 38-year-old reportedly received an endorsement from a Colts legend.
Callahan was a walk-on at UCLA and briefly lived on the same dorm floor as the writer of this article.
Aug 9, 2019; New Orleans, LA, USA; New Orleans Saints head coach Sean Payton in the second half against the Minnesota Vikings at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. Mandatory Credit: Chuck Cook-USA TODAY Sports
Sean Payton seemed at one point like he would almost certainly be back coaching with an NFL team next season, but there have been numerous reports over the past week that he is leaning toward remaining at FOX. That is not a done deal yet, according to one NFL insider.
Ian Rapoport of NFL Media said on “The Pat McAfee Show” Friday that there are still two teams that could hire Payton as their next head coach. The Carolina Panthers are out after they signed Frank Reich, and the Houston Texans are not planning to meet with Payton for a second interview. That leaves the Denver Broncos and Arizona Cardinals.
Payton interviewed with the Cardinals on Thursday. Rapoport says the two sides had a positive meeting.
“It sounds like that went well, and as of right now it sounds like that is a possibility and still in play. … Arizona I think was interested in Frank Reich and Dan Quinn, not getting either of them. Sean Payton, we’ll see, but that would make some sense,” Rapoport told McAfee.
There was talk that Payton wanted the Broncos job two weeks ago, but those rumors have cooled. A report on Thursday claimed Payton is concerned about a potential power struggle with one member Denver’s ownership group. Payton said in a tweet that there was “zero truth” to the report. According to Rapoport, Payton is still in the running with the Broncos.
“I think in Denver, he has not been eliminated there. I know they like DeMeco Ryans a lot, but (Payton is) still in play there as well,” Rapoport said. “Might he lean toward returning to FOX now? I think maybe, but he’s definitely still in play in two places.”
The Broncos are said to be down to two finalists for their head coach job, and neither is named Payton. There is always a chance that could change, but most signs point to the 59-year-old taking at least another year off.
Dec 19, 2021; Miami Gardens, Florida, USA; Miami Dolphins head coach Brian Flores runs off the field after winning the game against the New York Jets at Hard Rock Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Sam Navarro-USA TODAY Sports
Brian Flores will be getting another look for a head coach job.
The Arizona Cardinals plan to interview Flores for their head coach vacancy, CBS Sports’ Jonathan Jones reported on Sunday.
Flores was the head coach of the Miami Dolphins from 2019-2021. He went 24-25 over the three seasons and was fired after 2021 despite having consecutive winning seasons.
Flores made headlines when he sued the Dolphins for alleged racial discrimination. His lawsuit led the league to make widespread changes to the hiring processes for teams to create more opportunities for minority candidates.
The 41-year-old spent this season on the Pittsburgh Steelers’ staff as a senior defensive assistant and linebackers coach.
The Cardinals are looking for a new head coach after firing Kliff Kingsbury following a disappointing 4-13 season.
Jan 8, 2023; Santa Clara, California, USA; San Francisco 49ers defensive coordinator DeMeco Ryans walks off the field after defeating the Arizona Cardinals at Levi’s Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Darren Yamashita-USA TODAY Sports
San Francisco 49ers defensive coordinator DeMeco Ryans canceled two scheduled head coach interviews on Saturday, but had good reason for doing so.
Ryans was set to interview with the Arizona Cardinals and Indianapolis Colts on Saturday, but canceled both interviews, according to Jay Glazer of FOX Sports. The reason was that Ryans wanted to devote himself fully to preparing for Sunday’s NFC divisional game against the Dallas Cowboys.
Ryans still interviewed with the Denver Broncos and Houston Texans. While not confirmed, the interview cancellation seems to be down to timing and not a lack of interest in either position, so one wound figure that those interviews will ultimately be rescheduled.
After a very successful two-year stint as 49ers defensive coordinator, Ryans appears to have a strong chance of landing a job this cycle. He will just have to find the time to sit for all his possible interviews.
Feb 25, 2020; Indianapolis, Indiana, USA; Indianapolis Colts head coach Frank Reich speaks to the media during the 2020 NFL Combine in the Indianapolis Convention Center. Mandatory Credit: Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports
Frank Reich is drawing more attention as a potential head coach.
The former Indianapolis Colts head coach had an interview with the Arizona Cardinals for their head coach vacancy, ESPN’s Dan Graziano reported on Tuesday.
Arizona just parted ways with Kliff Kingsbury and Steve Keim, which means they will have new leadership next season. The team on Tuesday introduced new general manager Monti Ossenfort, who seemingly sent a message to Kyler Murray.
Arizona is searching for a new head coach and has interest in Sean Payton in addition to Reich.
Reich reportedly interviewed last week for the Carolina Panthers job.
Reich, 61, coached the Colts from 2018-2022. He went 40-33-1 over his four-plus seasons with the team. He was fired after a 3-5-1 start to the season.
The Cardinals are coming off a 4-13 season.
Dec 5, 2021; Chicago, Illinois, USA; Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray (1) warms up before the game against the Chicago Bears at Soldier Field. Mandatory Credit: Quinn Harris-USA TODAY Sports
The Arizona Cardinals on Tuesday introduced Monti Ossenfort as their new general manager, and some believe the executive may have delivered a subtle message to Kyler Murray.
Ossenfort spoke with reporters about building a team and not simply collecting talent. He said the Cardinals are “trying to build a sustainable program” that can be successful for years to come, not only in 2023. The former Tennessee Titans director of player personnel then delivered an unprompted remark about egos.
“Ego will not be tolerated in this organization,” Ossenfort said.
Many people felt that comment was directed toward Murray, and you can understand why. The star quarterback has developed a reputation for being difficult to work with. We all saw what happened with Murray’s infamous “video game clause” in the massive contract extension he signed with the Cardinals. Murray also had issues with Kliff Kingsbury this season and was recently ripped by an anonymous teammate.
The Cardinals gave Murray a $230 million extension last offseason that includes $160 million guaranteed, so they are very much committed to him. Ossenfort may have been making a generic statement to the entire team, or that could have been his way of trying to motivate the former first overall pick.
Dec 12, 2021; East Rutherford, N.J.,USA; New Orleans Saints head coach Sean Payton at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports
Sean Payton will likely have his pick of several jobs after he is permitted to interview with teams next week, and there have been reports that the Denver Broncos are the early favorites to land the head coach. According to one NFL insider, that is far from a done deal.
Ian Rapoport said during an appearance on “The Pat McAfee Show” Friday that Payton is a “strong candidate” for the Broncos, Arizona Cardinals and Houston Texans. The reporter admitted that he did not think Payton was a realistic option for the Cardinals when the season ended, but he has since changed his mind.
“Going into this I would have said I don’t know if Sean Payton will go to the Cardinals. Now, I think it’s pretty legit,” Rapoport said. “Both them and the Texans have pretty good opportunities, because Kyler (Murray) is different, but Sean Payton is different too and maybe that works. He is a great coach and will no doubt give some accountability to Kyler Murray and make sure of it. They’re not gonna need a clause in the contract, etc. Sean will make sure of it.”
You can hear more of Rapoport’s analysis below, but beware that the clip contains a curse word:
Payton has said having a good relationship with ownership and the front office will be a priority for him when choosing his next team. He had that with the New Orleans Saints and understands how important it is for building a winning culture.
In addition to firing head coach Kliff Kingsbury this week, the Cardinals also announced that general manager Steve Keim will not be back next season. The GM vacancy may appeal to Payton. Arizona would almost certainly let Payton hand pick a GM if that were important to him.
A report last month claimed Payton had his eye on two NFL jobs, and one was the Cardinals. The other is not vacant and may not be anytime soon.
Oct 28, 2021; Glendale, Arizona, USA; Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray (1) against the Green Bay Packers at State Farm Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
Kyler Murray spent much of last offseason pushing for a contract extension with the Arizona Cardinals, and one teammate says he saw a change in Murray after the quarterback signed the massive deal.
Murray signed a five-year, $230 million extension with the Cardinals prior to the season. He had created some drama for the team before the two sides came to an agreement, but one anonymous teammate told Michael Silver of Bally Sports that what happened after Murray secured the bag of money was the real issue.
Silver wrote on Thursday that he recently spoke with an anonymous Cardinals veteran who told him “it was like they created a monster” when the team gave Murray a big contract. The veteran said he was not surprised by Arizona’s terrible season, as Murray felt less obligated to study and prepare for games once he got paid.
Of course, those concerns about Murray are not new. When Murray signed his extension, word leaked that it contained a clause which stated he had to complete four hours of “independent study” ahead of each game during the season. The clause was unprecedented, and many referred to it as a “video game clause” since Murray is a known gamer.
Murray’s teammates defended him over the work ethic questions the clause created, and the Cardinals eventually removed it. The team’s explanation for removing the language made little sense.
The Cardinals fired head coach Kliff Kingsbury this week and have said Murray will have input in the search for a replacement. If the anonymous teammate who ripped Murray is still under contract with Arizona next season, that is an indication that there are some locker room issues that need to be addressed as well.
Oct 24, 2021; Glendale, Arizona, USA; Arizona Cardinals wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins (10) against the Houston Texans at State Farm Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
Is DeAndre Hopkins’ time with the Arizona Cardinals coming to an end? That’s what some are wondering after seeing a post Hopkins made on Instagram Wednesday.
Hopkins posted a photo of himself in an Arizona Cardinals jersey on Instagram. His caption was simple: “Forever grateful.”
Some took the Instagram post as a potential farewell from the receiver.
Hopkins was traded by the Houston Texans to the Cardinals in 2020, and he signed a 2-year extension with the Cardinals. But the 30-year-old’s career with the Cardinals has not panned out as hoped.
Hopkins had 42 catches for 572 yards and 8 touchdown catches in 10 games last year. This year he had 64 catches for 717 yards and 3 touchdowns in 9 games. He served a 6-game suspension to start the season for violating the league’s performance-enhancing drugs policy.
Hopkins has a $30.75 million cap hit for 2023 and $26.2 million cap hit in 2024. The Cardinals could try to trade him, but he might have to make an adjustment to his contract; teams would be unlikely to take him on with that cap hit for 2023. Still, the Cardinals need a new coach, new general manager, and many changes could be coming. Hopkins leaving could be one of those changes.