Not long after confirming that Steve Keim would no longer be involved in the organization, the Cardinals have found his replacement. Arizona is hiring Monti Ossenfort as their new general manager, reports Tom Pelissero of NFL Network (Twitter link). The move has been confirmed by a team announcement.
Ossenfort has two decades of experience in NFL front offices, including his most recent stint as the Titans’ director of player personnel. His work over that span made him a highly regarded candidate for GM openings either in Tennessee or elsewhere over several years, and he is now set to take over Arizona’s front office.
Ossenfort has a long background in scouting dating back to his time with the Patriots. He had an extended stay in New England beginning in 2006, and had worked his way up to the role of college scouting director by the time he moved on to the Titans. When the latter organization made the surprising move of firing Jon Robinson, he quickly became a name to watch with respect to potential successors, along with interim GM Ryan Cowden.
Indeed, both Ossenfort and Cowden were among the early interviewees for the full-time position in Nashville. For a time, that vacancy was the only one in the league, but Keim’s midseason leave of absence led to widespread speculation that Arizona would be in need of a new GM this offseason as well. In the immediate aftermath of head coach Kliff Kingsbury‘s firing, it was announced that Keim would also not be in the desert in 2023.
The Cardinals interviewed Ossenfort after meeting with a pair of internal candidates for the position, but owner Michael Bidwill will now turn outside the organization to lead its next chapter. Former Giants GM Jerry Reese was also in consideration for the job, but Ossenfort will now be tasked with leading an NFL front office for the first time in his career.
His first major task, of course, will be finding a successor to Kingsbury. Bidwill had made it clear that his preference was to find a GM before a new bench boss, so he and Ossenfort can turn their attention towards the HC search process. That will entail input from a number of high-profile players on the team, including quarterback Kyler Murray. Finding a candidate who feels well-suited to meshing with the dual-threat’s skillset will be pivotal, given the organization’s commitment to him this past summer.
“It was critically important for us to find the right person to lead us as general manager and there is no doubt in my mind that we have that in Monti Ossenfort,” Bidwill said in a statement. “He possesses every attribute of a successful GM – passion, leadership, intelligence, work ethic – and his extensive experience has clearly prepared him for this role. We could not be more thrilled to have Monti and his family joining the Cardinals.”
The Cardinals finished well below expectations in 2022, and currently hold the No. 3 pick in the upcoming draft. Long before that event begins, however, the team will need to address a number of roster decisions in free agency, while implementing significant changes both in the front office and on the sidelines. The first step in the process has now taken place.