The Cardinals need leaders who can create an identity, develop Kyler Murray

The Cardinals need leaders who can create an identity, develop Kyler Murray

The Cardinals need leaders who can create an identity, develop Kyler Murray

After three head coach hires in 10 years, Arizona Cardinals owner Michael Bidwell must finally find a coach and general manager tandem that is aligned, can establish a sustainable, winning culture, and can keep Kyler Murray playing to his full potential.

Bidwell announced on Monday that Kliff Kingsbury had been relieved of his duties. The 43-year-old coach just 10 months ago signed a contract extension for the 2027 season. The team also announced that GM Steve Keim had resigned after leaving the team due to health issues last month. Like Kingsbury, Keim has signed an off-season extension to the 2027 season.

“We will live with the financial consequences,” Bidwell told reporters when asked how he would deal with the remaining years of Kingsbury and Keima’s contracts.

Cardinals sacks HC Kliff Kingsbury, GM Steve Keim resigns

Cardinals sacks HC Kliff Kingsbury, GM Steve Keim resigns

The Cardinals finished last in the NFC West with a 4-13 score, leading to changes. Skip Bayless and Shannon Sharpe react to the news.

Bidwell said he has already interviewed two internal candidates for the Cardinals general manager position, vice president of player personnel Quentin Harris and vice president of human resources, both of whom took over from Keim last month.

During his 10-year tenure as CEO, Keim has had his share of hesitations and misses at the top of the draft board, including quarterback loser Josh Rosen, along with a summer production of recent security firsts Isaiah Simmons and linebacker Zaven Collins.

Keim traded Arizona’s 2022 first-round pick for receiver Marquise “Hollywood” Brown, who missed five games this season due to injury. The Cardinals have the #3 pick in the upcoming draft.

Arizona could use some stabilization on the coaching front, as in its more than 100 years as a franchise, it has never had a head coach at the helm for more than six years.

“We’re going to cast the net far and wide, doing it differently than we’ve done in the past,” Bidwell said of the search for a GM and head coach.

In addition to internal GM candidates, the Cardinals also reportedly requested interviews with San Francisco 49ers Chief Human Resources Officer Ran Carthon and 49ers Deputy General Manager Adam Peters, along with Chicago Bears Assistant GM Ian Cunningham and Tennessee Titans Director of Personnel, Monti Ossenfort.

Bidwell is a member of the league’s diversity, equality and inclusion committee. He said he prefers to hire a CEO first and then ask that person to help hire a new head coach. However, Bidwell has not ruled out hiring a head coach first.

Current Arizona defense coordinator Vance Joseph is a potential candidate for the vacant head coach position.

Who is to blame for Kliff Kingsbury’s failed tenure?

Who is to blame for Kliff Kingsbury's failed tenure?

Emmanuel Acho, Joy Taylor, LeSean McCoy and David Helman discuss the fault of Kliff Kingsbury in Arizona.

The Cardinals reportedly intend to ask the New Orleans Saints for permission to interview former coach Sean Payton. However, hiring Payton would require compensation for the project, and the financial cost could be more than the Cardinals are willing to spend, especially if they enter a bidding war with other teams.

But landing on someone like Payton is what Arizona needs. The Cardinals haven’t won a playoff game since 2015, when Arizona last beat the NFC West. Payton has a Super Bowl win to his credit, making Drew Brees a notable point guard in the Hall of Fame. He could provide stability and structure for Murray to develop into an elite QB.

Finding a coach to get the most out of Murray should be at the top of Bidwell’s list, after signing the Oklahoma product to a five-year, $230 million extension last season in the off-season. Murray underwent surgery to repair a torn ACL in his right knee last week and is unlikely to be fully healed until the start of the 2023 season.

“We want to make sure we have a culture of this locker room, a culture of our organization that is really focused on maximum effort to make sure we do everything we can to win the NFC West,” said Bidwell.

The owner said he spoke to a handful of leaders in the dressing room to get their views on the search for a general manager and coach. Murray will be in that group.

Bidwell noted that the Cardinals were 10-2 at the start of last season and were one of the hottest teams in the league. Since then, Arizona has gone 5-18, including seven straight losses to end the 2022 season.

“We were the hottest team in the league 13 months ago,” said Bidwell. “You’ve all seen it. There were teams that collapsed a few years ago that changed and are now in the playoffs. So I feel like we can turn around quickly. right coach, right CEO here. We can do it. We have a lot of talent on this team.

Just like Seattle Seahawks coach Pete Carroll achieved with Russell Wilson, Baltimore Ravens coach John Harbaugh achieved with Lamar Jackson or even Atlanta Falcons coach Dan Reeves achieved with Michael Vick more than 20 years ago, Bidwell needs to find an experienced head coach who can get the best out of Murray for Cardinals to reach their full potential.

“I don’t know if we’re as broken as people think,” Bidwell said. “Our record is terrible. But when you look at the talent in this team, we have a lot of talent. We just need to make sure everyone plays together.”

Highlights from FOX Sports:

Eric D. Williams has covered the NFL for over a decade, covering the Los Angeles Rams for Sports Illustrated, the Los Angeles Chargers for ESPN, and the Seattle Seahawks for the Tacoma News Tribune. Follow him on Twitter at @eric_d_williams.

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