Cardinals Rumors

Dan Quinn To Stay With Cowboys, Withdraw From HC Searches

After receiving extensive interest from head coach-needy teams for a second straight year, Dan Quinn is once again planning to stick with the Cowboys.

The veteran defensive coordinator informed teams that have considered him for their HC job he will remain in Dallas, Tom Pelissero of NFL.com tweets. This will be a big gain for the Cowboys, considering Quinn’s performance through two seasons, and it stands to affect the Broncos, Cardinals and Colts’ HC searches.

Quinn, 52, was once again among those in the mix for the Broncos’ HC job, but after a second straight year in a Denver search, the former George Paton coworker bowed out. The Cardinals and Colts may have been more interested. Arizona brought Quinn in for a second interview this week, and Quinn agreed to a second Indianapolis meeting Wednesday night. That summit was set for Saturday, but it is now off.

This is big for us. It gives us continuity. Frankly, on a personal note, I can’t tell you how thankful I am,” Mike McCarthy said (via The Athletic’s Jon Machota) of Quinn’s return. “Clearly, Dan is in the position to be selective, and I’m extremely excited about the decision.”

The former Falcons HC remains under contract with the Cowboys, via the multiyear extension he signed in January 2022. Quinn interviewed with five teams during the ’22 hiring period, advancing to the finals of Denver search that produced Nathaniel Hackett. The Broncos may or may not have rushed that process, due to Hackett agreeing to a second Jaguars interview. After the Hackett hire, Quinn recommitted to the Cowboys.

Quinn remaining in Dallas led to the team taking another step defensively, ranking second in DVOA. The team’s defensive muscle showed in its divisional-round matchup with the 49ers, though DeMeco Ryans‘ unit prevailed in a low-scoring matchup. Still, Quinn’s unit — after intending to retain Randy Gregory and then losing him at the 11th hour — built on its 2021 season. Working more as an edge defender, Micah Parsons maintained the dominance he showed as a rookie. Dallas’ rebuilt D-line led the way in the team’s 54-sack season — 13 more than the 2021 unit registered — and has led the league in takeaways for the past two seasons. After the Cowboys set a franchise record for points allowed during the 2020 season, Quinn’s arrival has made a considerable difference on their 24-10 record since.

This decision could point Ryans toward securing the Denver job. A Thursday report indicated the San Francisco DC had become a frontrunner for it, seemingly blunting the early momentum Quinn had as a potential Sean Payton backup plan. With the prospects for a Broncos-Payton partnership fading, Ryans is in line to capitalize. The Colts are planning to have roughly seven candidates go through second interviews. That is on the high side, but Indianapolis has led the way in terms of interview volume. Jeff Saturday remains in that mix, though a few others have met or will meet with Jim Irsay and Co. Brian Floresname has come up most often in connection with the Arizona job, but Payton is at the Cardinals’ facility Thursday afternoon.

Going into his third season as Dallas’ DC, Quinn will need to hire multiple new staffers. The team moved on from senior defensive assistant George Edwards and longtime assistant D-line coach Leon Lett.

Coaching Rumors: Payton, Flores, Evero

By far the biggest name on this year’s coaching carousel, Sean Payton looks to have seen his momentum stall a bit. While Payton is interviewing with the Cardinals today, his candidacy has not produced a second interview anywhere yet. The Panthers met with Payton this week but just hired Frank Reich. While the Texans remain on the radar for the longtime Saints HC, Jeremy Fowler of ESPN.com does not get the sense much momentum is present for such a partnership. The Broncos have been connected to other names recently as well, but that path may be dwindling as well. There might not be a place for Payton — as odd as that sounds, given his track record — on this year’s market, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com offers (video link)

Trade compensation being required to land the Super Bowl XLIV-winning HC, with the price varying from a first-rounder and other early picks to two first-rounders, has affected teams’ plans here. Payton, 59, has also been mentioned as waffling on this year’s lot of jobs. Returning to FOX for another year and surveying the 2024 market, when two jobs he has long been connected to (Chargers, Cowboys), could be available might be what comes out of this run of interviews. Payton remains in this year’s mix, but buzz has died down.

Here is the latest from the coaching landscape:

  • Regarding the Cardinals‘ search, Brian Flores remains firmly in the mix. GM candidates received the impression Arizona is high on the three-year Miami HC-turned-Pittsburgh linebackers coach, Fowler notes. Previously mentioned as a frontrunner — due partially to the Cards hiring ex-Patriots exec Monti Ossenfort as GM — Flores may have a right-hand man on defense lined up. Some around the league expect the ex-Dolphins HC to bring Gerald Alexander, Miami’s defensive backs coach for the past three years, with him to Arizona, per Fowler. With the Dolphins looking for a new DC, Alexander may be on the move anyway. While ESPN colleague Dan Graziano points to Vance Joseph and Aaron Glenn remaining strong candidates, Flores has generated the most buzz to this point. Flores has also interviewed for the Falcons and Vikings’ DC posts.
  • Raheem Morris booked a second HC interview with the Colts and also met with the Broncos and Texans. Should the Rams‘ DC land a second HC opportunity, Albert Breer of SI.com notes Ejiro Evero is the team’s top candidate to replace him. The Denver DC is no lock to be available. He is under contract with the Broncos, who blocked a Falcons DC interview, and has gone through second HC interviews with the Colts and Texans. Denver could pass on retaining Evero by hiring a defensive-minded coach, of course. Evero came to Denver from Los Angeles; he spent five years on Sean McVay‘s staff.
  • The Browns considered bringing in Vic Fangio for a DC interview, Mary Kay Cabot of cleveland.com notes, but they stood down and ended up hiring Jim Schwartz. Cleveland having run a 4-3 defense in recent years may have been a reason for passing on a Fangio meeting, Cabot offers. Fangio has remained quite popular still, having interviewed for three DC jobs — the Dolphins, Falcons and Panthers — already.
  • The Bills are making a change to their defensive staff. They fired safeties coach Jim Salgado, Alaina Getzenberg of ESPN.com tweets. Salgado had been on McDermott’s staff throughout the head coach’s six-season tenure.
  • Giants DC Don Martindale is attached to a three-year contract, Dan Duggan of The Athletic notes (subscription required). The Giants thought enough of the veteran coordinator, whom the Ravens did not bring back last year, they gave him the three-year deal as opposed to the more common two-year pact. Giants ST coordinator Thomas McGaughey also received extensive interest from other teams, with Duggan adding the Chargers joined the Panthers in offering him their ST coordinator jobs. McGaughey, who has been with the Giants since 2018, turned down a Bears interview and opted to stay and work for Brian Daboll.

2023 NFL Head Coaching Search Tracker

Last year, 10 NFL teams hired new head coaches. Following the Panthers’ hire, this year’s vacancy count sits at four. Last year’s Saints and Buccaneers moves, however, showed these job openings can emerge at unexpected points.

Listed below are the head coaching candidates that have been linked to each of the teams with vacancies, along with their current status. If other teams decide to make head coaching changes, they’ll be added to this list. Here is the current breakdown:

Updated 1-26-23 (4:36pm CT)

Arizona Cardinals

Carolina Panthers

Denver Broncos

Houston Texans

Indianapolis Colts

Broncos Sean Payton Hire Becoming Less Likely?

The Broncos had scheduled a second Sean Payton interview for this week, but NOLA.com’s Jeff Duncan notes (via Twitter) the meeting is now on hold. Next on Payton’s docket will be interview No. 1 with the Cardinals, but chatter about the FOX analyst hopping off the 2023 coaching carousel to join a potentially flashier ride next year persists.

Payton will meet with the Cardinals on Thursday, per Duncan, who adds the delays in the longtime Saints HC’s schedule lend to the notion he will stay put and not coach in 2023. Payton’s initial Broncos meeting may not have gone as well as initially reported, either. Neither side looks to view this as a “must-do deal,” Jason La Canfora of the Washington Post notes. One GM said, via La Canfora, he expects Payton to stay at FOX for another year — a long-rumored path — and wait out potentially better jobs.

A Payton hire would be a blockbuster for the Broncos, who have struck out with first-time HCs in 2017 (Vance Joseph), 2019 (Vic Fangio) and 2022 (Nathaniel Hackett) and are believed to be prioritizing experience. But it would be expensive — both in terms of financial and trade compensation. A two-first-rounder haul has been floated, though some around the league believe a first-rounder and both of Denver’s 2023 thirds could be enough for New Orleans. The Saints would undoubtedly ask for a bigger return from Carolina, given the potential intra-NFC South jump in that scenario. The Broncos have been more closely connected to Payton compared to the Panthers, but The Athletic’s Joe Person adds Denver may no longer have the former Super Bowl-winning HC as its frontrunner (subscription required).

Considering what has come out on the Broncos’ HC search, it would surprise if the team passed on Payton. Russell Wilson reached out to the well-regarded play-caller, who, as of Monday, was still believed to have the inside track for the job. But the team has interviewed a host of other candidates, including Cowboys DC Dan Quinn, who was close to landing the job last year. If Payton does not have a substantial lead in this race, the Broncos backing off and hiring a coach they would not need to trade for would make sense. Then again, Payton is by far the most accomplished candidate available.

The prospect of Payton waiting out 2024 jobs continues to be discussed around the league, La Canfora adds. This will keep the dots connected to the Chargers and Cowboys positions, gigs Payton has eyed for several months. The Chargers announced intentions to retain Brandon Staley, despite a historic wild-card collapse, and the Cowboys do not look like they will be canning Mike McCarthy after back-to-back 12-win seasons. That said, ESPN.com’s Dianna Russini tweets a mystery team of sorts could lurk. Said team is observing this process and could make a move once it “gets [its] ducks in a row.”

Anonymous suitors notwithstanding, Payton will soon have interviewed for four of the five open positions this year. It is not known if an offer has come his way, but Panthers owner David Tepper was believed to be quite interested in this splashy hire heading into their meeting. Tepper’s reputation of being a “hands-on” owner might also impact Payton’s interest, Person adds.

The Texans, who hold two first-round picks (including No. 2 overall), are believed to intrigue the veteran coach. But buzz about the NFC championship game defensive coordinators — DeMeco Ryans and Jonathan Gannon — and this position is circulating as well, La Canfora adds. Gannon has long been connected to the Texans job, which he interviewed twice for in 2022, and Ryans spent the first six seasons of his playing career in Houston.

Cardinals To Conduct Second HC Interview With Dan Quinn

With their new general manager in place, the Cardinals are continuing their search for a new head coach. That process could be nearing an end, as their second round of interviews is set to begin tonight.

Tom Pelissero of NFL Network reports that Arizona will conduct an in-person meeting with Cowboys defensive coordinator Dan Quinn tonight (Twitter link). Arizona had met virtually with the 52-year-old this past weekend, as he and the Cowboys were preparing for their game against the 49ers. With Dallas having lost that contest, Quinn is free to meet with prospective teams during the week, meaning clarity on his future could be coming soon.

Quinn has also undergone first interviews with the Broncos and Colts; Pelissero notes that both of those teams are also interested in lining up a second meeting in the coming days. That comes as little surprise, given how highly-regarded Quinn is during this year’s coaching cycle, as he was last offseason as well. His decision to ultimately remain in Dallas for 2022 paid dividends for the Cowboys, who finished the regular season with the league’s No. 5 scoring defense.

To open up the playoffs, Quinn’s unit held the Buccaneers to 14 points and an average of only 4.8 yards per play. On Sunday, they delivered another noteworthy performance by limiting San Francisco to 19 points, 3.5 yards per carry and less than 200 passing yards. That has, unsurprisingly, kept him squarely on the radar to receive a second head coaching opportunity.

Quinn spent five-plus years as Atlanta’s bench boss, a stint which was highlighted by a Super Bowl appearance. His tenure with the Falcons was preceded by a pair of seasons as the Seahawks’ DC, so a move to Arizona would mean a return to the NFC West. It would also allow new GM Monti Ossenfort to shift the coaching staff to a defensive mind as a replacement for Kliff Kingsbury. Such a move has been hinted at by Arizona’s DC Vance Joseph being named an early candidate to take on the job, along with Brian Flores being rumored to be a serious contender and multiple other defensive staffers receiving interest.

With Quinn set to kick off the second round of Arizona’s interviews, here is the current breakdown of their search:

Sean Payton Expected To Meet With Broncos, Cardinals

The 2023 head coaching cycle continues to unfold, and the most coveted candidate remains at the center of the latest developments. Sean Payton continues to stand out as the presumed favorite for the Broncos’ vacancy, but his schedule will not be limited to Denver this week.

The former Saints head coach is set to meet with the Broncos in Denver for a second interview, as detailed by NOLA.com’s Jeff Duncan. That initial report was quickly met by others confirming that nothing firm has been scheduled for the Broncos and their coaching finalists as of yet, but in a follow-up, Duncan tweets that the 59-year-old will travel to Denver this Wednesday, suggesting he will interview that night or Thursday.

Payton – who is still under contract with the Saints, meaning a trade package must be agreed upon for him to take a new job elsewhere – has long been connected to Denver. After their Nathaniel Hackett hire resulted in a disastrous performance on offense in particular, the Broncos are expected to pivot to an experienced bench boss. Payton would certainly fit that bill, and bring a championship pedigree to the Mile High City.

It was reported last week that quarterback Russell Wilson spoke to Payton in an attempt to recruit him, something which would be helped by the Rob Walton-led ownership group comfortably being able to meet his salary demands (believed to in the $20-$25MM per year range). Duncan notes that, especially after the relative success of Payton’s first interview with the Broncos, interest between the two sides “appears to be mutual.”

In light of that, Denver7’s Troy Renck adds that Payton is widely believed to have the “inside track” for the Broncos’ position. As Renck notes, the Hackett hire was rushed by general manager George Paton last year in no small part by his looming Jaguars interview; taking a more methodical approach (including second interviews with a shortlist of finalists) has thus always been the intention of this year’s search committee.

Not long after New Orleans granted Denver permission to interview Payton, it was reported that the teams had at least a rough agreement in place on the trade compensation necessary to facilitate a move. Any package the Saints receive would include at least one – if not two – first-round picks, something which is particularly noteworthy in Denver’s case given the price they paid Seattle for Wilson last offseason. ESPN’s Jeff Legwold notes (on Twitter) that some around the league believe a package including the Broncos’ 2023 first-rounder (which will be no higher than 28th overall, given the 49ers’ win yesterday) along with one or both of their thirds would be necessary; Denver does not have a second-rounder this year.

Payton has, of course, drawn considerable interest from other teams as well. One of those is the Panthers, with whom he is expected to meet today. Another is the Cardinals, who were granted permission for an interview one week ago. Veteran Cardinals reporter Howard Balzer reports that Payton will meet with the team this Thursday (Twitter link). That news comes not long after Arizona confirmed the hiring of new general manager Monti Ossenfort, a move which widely expected to precede the arrival of a new bench boss.

It also, however, partially contradicts what had been reported above. In a follow-up, Balzer tweets that Payton’s Denver interview has been delayed, and that his meeting with the Cardinals will take place in Arizona. Between his sit-downs with the Panthers and Cardinals, along with interest shown by the Texans and, presumably, a second interview with Denver at some point, much remains to be determinized with respect to the biggest coaching domino on the current NFL landscape.

DeMeco Ryans Planning HC Interviews With Broncos, Cardinals, Colts, Texans

JANUARY 23: Ryans ended up cancelling his Sunday interviews with the Cardinals and Colts due to the tight timeline, Jay Glazer of FOX Sports notes (video link). With the 49ers having advanced to the NFC title game, he will not be eligible to meet with either team until next Monday at the earliest.

JANUARY 22: Sunday will be a busy day for Ryans. Per ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler, Ryans will interview with both the Cardinals and Colts on Sunday, prior to the 49ers’ divisional round contest against the Cowboys (video link). Fowler adds that Ryans’ Texans summit went late into the evening on Friday, so it sounds as if the two sides had a productive conversation.

JANUARY 19: Ryans is, in fact, planning to interview with all four teams this week, Tom Pelissero of NFL.com tweets. Despite an already-busy schedule, the 49ers assistant will meet with the Cardinals and Colts this week. This represents quite the workload for the coveted staffer and offers the latest example of the annual issues that arise from the NFL letting teams interview assistants during the postseason.

JANUARY 17: Because of NFL rules allowing teams to interview HC candidates during the week of divisional-round games, DeMeco Ryans is mired in one of the busier periods in recent coaching-carousel history. The 49ers’ defensive coordinator is planning to meet with four of the five teams in search of a head coach.

Already confirmed to be meeting with the Broncos this week, Ryans will also meet with the Texans on Friday. Kyle Shanahan said (via The Athletic’s Matt Barrows, on Twitter) his second-year DC is interviewing for the Denver and Houston jobs this week while indicating Arizona and Indianapolis meetings are on Ryans’ docket for sometime after this week. The Panthers requested a Ryans interview, but nothing is scheduled at this point.

Not much is known on the Cardinals’ HC front. Only four candidates — Ryans, Vance Joseph, Brian Flores and Sean Payton — have been connected to Arizona’s search. The team preferred to hire its GM first, and with Monti Ossenfort now officially in place in that role, the HC search will accelerate. The Cardinals have become familiar with Ryans’ work, having faced the 49ers four times since he took over as their defensive play-caller in 2021.

Rumored to be considering passing on an interview with the team that drafted him, the former Texans linebacker is now set to discuss the position with the Nick Caserio-led regime. Ryans indeed deliberated on meeting with the Texans, KPRC’s Aaron Wilson notes. Ryans sued the Texans and the NFL after suffering an Achilles tear at NRG Stadium in 2014. That $10MM lawsuit centered around NRG Stadium’s playing surface. An Eagles starter in 2014, Ryans alleged the injury led to a premature ending to his career — one he said would have lasted beyond its 2015 endpoint had that injury not occurred.

The Texans drafted Ryans in the 2006 second round and immediately plugged him in as a starter. Ryans operated as a starter throughout his six-year stay in Houston and signed a second contract with the team in 2010. The Texans traded him to the Eagles in 2012. Ryans caught on with Shanahan, an ex-Texans assistant, in 2017 as a quality control coach and has since become one of the NFL’s hottest HC candidates.

Ryans’ 49ers defense finished the season first in yards, points and DVOA; he has been expected to land one of the available HC jobs for a bit now. Such a move would follow the Jets’ hire of former 49ers DC Robert Saleh and provide San Francisco with two third-round picks, thanks to a Rooney Rule adjustment that rewards teams who see minority assistants land HC gigs or front office staffers hired as GMs.

Cardinals Hire Lions’ Dave Sears As Assistant GM

The Cardinals decided to go outside the building when choosing new general manager Monti Ossenfort‘s assistant general manager, hiring Lions director of college scouting Dave Sears, as reported by Ian Rapoport of NFL Network this morning. The move will be a reunion for Ossenfort and Sears who worked together for the Texans as college scouts.

Sears left Houston for Detroit in 2007 and has been with the Lions ever since working his way up from regional scout to his current role, which he’s held since 2019. Sears has been integral in the team’s draft process, serving as the intermediary between area scouts and the decision-makers of the draft.

Sears will become the No. 2 behind Ossenfort, who was hired as the Cardinals’ general manager earlier this week. The move to bring Ossenfort and Sears in from outside the building is an interesting one considering the Cardinals had two capable candidates for both positions in vice president of pro personnel Adrian Wilson and vice president of player personnel Quentin Harris, who served together filling the interim duties of general manager during Steve Keim‘s leave of absence.

Both Wilson and Harris interviewed for the open general manager position, and both are more than qualified for the assistant role. If the franchise is adamant on bring in new blood to the front office, it may be spelling the end for Wilson and Harris’s time in Arizona. The team had also interviewed Bears assistant general manager Ian Cunningham, who reportedly turned down the job after receiving an offer, according to Jay Glazer of FOX Sports. Jonathan Jones of CBS Sports echoes Glazer’s report, saying that Cunningham was Arizona’s first choice and that Cunningham declined the position because the “fit” was not right.

The Cardinals are now set moving forward with Ossenfort and Sears leading in the front office. They currently also still have Wilson and Harris in their current positions creating a strong group of top executives in the player personnel office.

Cardinals To Interview Dan Quinn For HC Job

Dan Quinn continues to prepare for tomorrow’s showdown against the 49ers, but the Cowboys defensive coordinator is becoming one of the most popular names in the head coaching carousel. The latest addition to the list of potential Quinn suitors is the Cardinals. NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero reports (via Twitter) that the Cardinals have requested permission to interview Quinn for their head coaching vacancy. Pelissero tweets that a virtual interview will take place today.

[RELATED: Cardinals Hire Monti Ossenfort As GM]

Quinn has already crammed in a pair of interview this week; he interviewed in-person with the Broncos last night and then met virtually with the Colts this morning. Quinn was a popular name last year, as well. He was a finalist for the Broncos job, and he also garnered interest from the Bears, Jaguars, Dolphins, Vikings, and Giants before ultimately deciding to stick in Dallas.

Quinn started his NFL coaching career with the 49ers. Following stints with the Dolphins and Jets, he joined Seattle in 2009 and eventually worked his way up to Seahawks’ defensive coordinator. He coached the NFL’s best defense in 2013 en route to a Super Bowl championship, and following another successful year in 2014, he was hired as the Falcons head coach prior to the 2015 campaign.

In Atlanta, Quinn had a pair of winning seasons and three others that saw him finish a combined 22-26. His most successful season came in 2016 when he coached the Falcons to Super Bowl LI. Of course, Atlanta ended up surrendering the biggest lead in Super Bowl history in that game, and the team would make only one more playoff appearance before Quinn was ousted five games into the 2020 campaign. He joined Dallas as their defensive coordinator prior to the 2021 season.

With the Cardinals having hired Monti Ossenfort as their new GM, the team continues to add to their list of head coaching candidates. The continually growing list also includes:

Cardinals To Interview Lions DC Aaron Glenn For HC Job

Day by day, the Cardinals continue to add names to their head coaching search. The latest candidate is Aaron Glenn, with NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero reporting (via Twitter) that the Cardinals have requested permission to interview the Lions defensive coordinator for their head coaching vacancy. NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport tweets that Glenn will meet with the organization on Saturday.

It was only a few months ago that Glenn was rumored to be on the hot seat following Detroit’s 1-6 start to the 2022 campaign. The Lions managed to turn around their season with an 8-2 finish, putting Glenn back on the coaching radar. A year after having interviewed for the Saints’ head coaching position, Glenn got an interview with the Colts for their current vacancy. Ben Johnson was also a popular coaching candidate following the Lions’ season, but the offensive coordinator ultimately decided to stick in Detroit.

Glenn made a name for himself as the Saints defensive backs coach, a role he held for five years. He took over the Lions gig in 2021, and while the defense still allowed the most yards and the fifth-most points in the NFL in 2022, he earned praise for his development of defensive players like Aidan Hutchinson, James Houston, Jeff Okudah and Kerby Joseph.

We heard last night that the Cardinals had requested permission to interview Broncos defensive coordinator Ejiro Evero. He was added to a growing list of candidates that also includes Steelers linebackers coach Brian Flores (who was also mentioned as a potential favorite), Cardinals defensive coordinator Vance Joseph, former Saints head coach Sean Payton, former Colts head coach Frank Reich, and 49ers defensive coordinator DeMeco Ryans. Besides Payton and Reich, the coaching candidates all come with a defensive pedigree, which is perhaps a hint that the Cardinals are looking to pivot from the offensive-focus of former head coach Kliff Kingsbury.