Jonathan Gannon

NFC Notes: Gannon, Allen, Campbell, Saints

Jonathan Gannon‘s Eagles exit brought a tampering penalty against the Cardinals, who made impermissible contact with their new head coach during the offseason. New Arizona GM Monti Ossenfort reached out to Gannon shortly after the NFC championship game, after the two-year Eagles DC expressed a desire to stay in Philadelphia. Gannon did not tell the Eagles about Ossenfort’s pre-Super Bowl call or his intention to interview with the Cardinals, according to’s Tim McManus. This affected Philly’s timing regarding Vic Fangio, who was perhaps this offseason’s most coveted coordinator.

A consultant with the Eagles last season, Fangio was well-liked and became the team’s choice to succeed Gannon as DC. Fangio all but confirmed the timing involving Gannon led him out of town. Before Super Bowl LVII, the Eagles had expected to retain Gannon, McManus adds. When Ossenfort was in Tennessee, he put Gannon’s name on a short list of possible HCs — in the event he landed a GM job. A Jan. 29 report indicated Fangio would accept the Dolphins’ DC offer; he was officially hired Feb. 2. The Cardinals’ Gannon interview request did not emerge until Feb. 12. By that point, the Eagles were aiming to retain Gannon after Fangio had bolted. With the Eagles having demoted their new DC — Sean Desai — and given Matt Patricia play-calling duties, Gannon’s Philly return this week will be interesting.

Here is the latest from the NFC:

  • Listing Jonathan Allen as a player he expects to be traded during the 2024 offseason,’s Jeremy Fowler notes the Commanders defensive tackle is not eager to go through another rebuild. Allen made his views on that matter fairly well known recently, after the team traded Montez Sweat and Chase Young. A losing streak commenced soon after, and Ron Rivera and Martin Mayhew are expected to be fired. Teams asked about Allen at the deadline, and while the Commanders resisted, new owner Josh Harris‘ involvement in the Sweat and Young deals showed an openness to stockpiling draft capital. Allen’s four-year, $72MM extension runs through 2025. It would cost Washington $18MM in dead money to trade Allen before June 1, so it would stand to take a nice offer to pry the seventh-year veteran from D.C.
  • The Giants have phased Parris Campbell out of their receiver rotation, going as far as to make him a healthy scratch in each of the past three games. Campbell signed a one-year, $4.7MM deal in free agency, with The Athletic’s Dan Duggan noting he is losing out on $100K per-game roster bonuses with these scratches. As the Giants emphasize bigger roles for younger wideouts Wan’Dale Robinson and Jalin Hyatt, Campbell is preparing to leave in free agency come March. “When I came here, did I think things would be different? Of course,” Campbell said, via the New York Post’s Ryan Dunleavy. “… During free agency, the market was kind of slow for receivers, but the Giants gave me an opportunity — and that’s all I want. This coming offseason, whoever is interested in me and wants to give me an opportunity, I’ll take it.” After three injury-plagued seasons, Campbell has stayed mostly healthy over his past two. The ex-Colts second-rounder, however, has 20 receptions for just 104 yards this year.
  • It is unlikely Marshon Lattimore and Michael Thomas return this season,’s Nick Underhill tweets. Lattimore suffered a significant ankle injury and has missed the past five Saints games. Thomas stayed healthier this year than he has since the 2010s, but the former All-Pro wideout has also missed New Orleans’ past five contests. Thomas, who may well be in his final weeks as a Saint, is down with a knee injury.
  • Six teams put in waiver claims on linebacker Christian Elliss, per the Philadelphia Inquirer’s Jeff McLane. The Patriots won out. Had Elliss not garnered any claims, the Eagles wanted to bring him back on their practice squad. A 2021 Eagles UDFA, Elliss had led the team in special teams snaps at the time of his exit earlier this month.

Latest On Cardinals’ Quarterback Plan

Kyler Murray‘s long-awaited return will commence in Week 10. The Cardinals used up Murray’s three-week return-to-practice window, giving the former Pro Bowler effectively a midseason training camp to work in Drew Petzing‘s system. That run-up may be important to how the organization proceeds at quarterback in 2024.

Moving parts exist here, given the Cardinals’ 2024 draft placement at this season’s midpoint. But the Cardinals want to see how Murray functions in their new play-caller’s system before making a determination about the longer-term future,’s Dan Graziano notes.

The Cards are 1-8, but Petzing was able to coax some productive performances from Josh Dobbs, who had arrived just before the season via the Browns trade. Arizona ranks 27th in offensive DVOA, with Clayton Tune‘s disastrous outing in Cleveland making a notable impact on the team’s overall numbers. Exiting their 58-yard offensive showing against the Browns, the Cards rank 31st in passing. Petzing’s system — which came from Kevin Stefanski‘s Browns attack — is seen by some around the league as one that could boost Murray’s stock, The Athletic’s Jeff Howe adds (subscription required). That said, the dual-threat QB the Browns added — Deshaun Watson — has not exactly taken to it during his early run in Ohio.

Murray, 26, has received an extensive buildup period upon returning from his ACL tear. He is nearly 11 months removed from it. Theories about the Cardinals keeping Murray inactive as they determine their future, which could include Drake Maye or Caleb Williams, ended up unfounded. But Murray’s showing stands to impact how the team proceeds next year, regardless of Jonathan Gannon‘s interest in keeping Murray as long as he is the HC.

The Cardinals could be in position to either draft one of the top two QBs or follow in the Bears’ footsteps and auction the pick to accelerate a rebuild that would, in the latter scenario, include Murray as the centerpiece. The Texans have improved to the point it looks unlikely they will land a top-five draft slot for a fourth straight year; Houston traded its 2024 first-rounder to Arizona to move up for Will Anderson in April. It would stand to reason Murray being active will hurt the Cardinals’ chances of securing a top-two pick in the ’24 draft, but the Cardinals’ power structure wants to see the former No. 1 overall pick in this new system to collect more information.

Murray could conceivably restore some of his trade value by staying healthy upon return. But Howe adds that his contract — five years, $230.5MM ($103.3MM fully guaranteed) — is not seen as tradeable. It would cost the Cardinals a record-setting (for now, as Russell Wilson‘s contract remains on the Broncos’ cap sheet) $46MM in dead money if he were traded before June 1. The Cards would owe Murray an $11.9MM guarantee on March 17 — Day 5 of the 2023 league year — if he is still on the roster; that money covers part of his 2025 salary. The year-out guarantee would stand to drive an early trade, but it would be punitive for the Cardinals. And a shortage of teams, Murray’s flashes in the past notwithstanding, would be in line to take on that contract.

Arizona paying part of Murray’s deal could facilitate a better return, but an executive told Howe a Murray release could also be in play — in the event the Cardinals commit to drafting another QB — due to a lack of trade interest. Even in a post-June 1 scenario, the Cardinals would be hit with a $48.3MM dead-money bill in 2024 by cutting the QB they extended in July 2022. A QB-needy team not in position to nab Williams or Maye may also be interested in Murray, though the return would not approach what the Texans received for Watson last year.

The fork-in-the-road moment the Cardinals may soon face will be a storyline to monitor as Murray resumes play. They already dealt Dobbs to clear out a spot, doing so after Gannon had told the media the journeyman would start against the Browns in Week 9. Dobbs took it a step further this week, indicating Gannon informed him he would not be traded.

Went to sleep, woke up Tuesday morning with a text from my agent saying, ‘Hey, you could be traded today because it’s the trade deadline,” Dobbs said on his Torchbearers podcast (via Yardbarker). “When I had the meeting with [Gannon] in Arizona, he looked at me in the face and he said, ‘You’re not being traded. You’re not being released. You’re going to be here in Arizona.”

After Gannon confirmed the Cardinals’ course change on Oct. 30, the team pulled the trigger on the Dobbs trade hours before the Oct. 31 deadline. The Cardinals sent Dobbs and a conditional seventh-round pick to the Vikings for a 2024 sixth-rounder. Dobbs, who made eight starts as a Cardinal, will start again for the Vikings in Week 10. It is not uncommon to see coaches and GMs backtrack on previous claims as trade rumors circulate, and it is also possible Gannon intended to start Dobbs once again but ended up being overruled.

The 28-year-old passer, after replacing a concussed Jaren Hall, piloted the Vikings to an upset win in Atlanta despite barely knowing Kevin O’Connell‘s system. Tune is now positioned as Murray’s backup, but the next two months will provide some answers about Arizona’s post-2023 QB direction.

Cardinals HC: As Long As I’m Here, Kyler Murray Can Be Here

Back in February, newly-hired Cardinals head coach Jonathan Gannon said he would not have taken the job if not for the presence of quarterback Kyler Murray, and he discussed his plans to maximize Murray’s talents. Murray, who was one of the players consulted in Arizona’s HC search, has likewise spoken highly of Gannon.

Of course, the diminutive signal-caller will begin the season on the PUP list as he continues his recovery from a torn ACL and meniscus that he suffered towards the end of the 2022 season. And the Cardinals, who have one of the league’s weakest rosters and who are clearly in a rebuild, could end up with two top-10 (or even top-five) picks in the 2024 draft, putting them in prime position to land an elite collegiate quarterback like USC’s Caleb Williams.

That reality has led to considerable speculation that Arizona could seek to move on from Murray — who is slated to carry a $51.86MM cap figure in 2024 — next offseason. Indeed, as Zak Keefer of The Athletic (subscription required) notes, the club would be saddled with a relatively modest $13MM dead money charge if it were to trade Murray with a post-June 1 designation next year.

However, Gannon is, as expected, shooting down any such chatter. “I’m completely convicted,” the rookie HC said. “As long as I’m here, [Murray] can be here.”

Jonathan Jones of CBS Sports hears that the Cardinals are pleased with Murray’s work ethic and study habits, as well as the strides he has made in his injury rehab. The two-time Pro Bowler could return to the field by the end of October, which would afford him roughly a half-season in new OC Drew Petzing‘s scheme.

“He loves ball, he loves ball,” Gannon said of Murray. “That was the other thing, the narrative on him — completely wrong. Completely wrong. Everything I’ve asked him to do, he’s done, more so. Have I challenged some of his actions that I didn’t love? Yes, and I’ve talked to him about it.”

It would obviously be ideal for Arizona if Murray can return to his pre-2022 form. A rebuilding team needs a franchise passer, and no matter how good of a propsect Williams or UNC’s Drake Maye might be, the Cards would much rather eschew spending a top-10 selection on a QB for the third time in seven years and to instead use their high-end draft capital — in addition to their own first-round pick, they also own the 2024 first-round choice of the Texans, another rebuilding outfit — to add premium talent to other areas of the roster.

Plus, rival executives tell Jeff Howe of The Athletic (subscription required) that Murray’s contract might not actually be tradeable. Even if Arizona’s own dead money burden would be manageable, an acquiring team would still be on the hook for the QB’s $37MM base salary in 2024 absent any pay-down on the part of the Cardinals.

Much can change between Week 1 and Week 18. But for now, the plan is to keep Murray in the desert for the forseeable future.

The NFL’s Longest-Tenured Head Coaches

After the 2022 offseason produced 10 new head coaches, this one brought a step back in terms of turnover. Five teams changed HCs, though each conducted thorough searches — four of them lasting until at least January 31.

The Colts and Cardinals hired their HCs after Super Bowl LVII, plucking the Eagles’ offensive and defensive coordinators (Shane Steichen, Jonathan Gannon). The Cardinals were hit with a tampering penalty regarding their Gannon search. Conducting their second HC search in two years, the Broncos saw multiple candidates drop out of the running. But Denver’s new ownership group convinced Sean Payton to step out of the FOX studio and back onto the sidelines after just one season away. The Panthers made this year’s first hire (Frank Reich), while the Texans — running their third HC search in three years — finalized an agreement with DeMeco Ryans minutes after the Payton news broke.

Only one of last year’s top 10 longest-tenured HCs lost his job. A turbulent Colts year led to Reich being fired barely a year after he signed an extension. During a rather eventful stretch, Jim Irsay said he reluctantly extended Reich in 2021. The Colts passed on giving interim HC Jeff Saturday the full-time position, despite Irsay previously indicating he hoped the former center would transition to that role. Reich landed on his feet, and after losing Andrew Luck to a shocking retirement just before his second Colts season, the well-regarded play-caller now has another No. 1 pick (Bryce Young) to mentor.

After considering a Rams exit, Sean McVay recommitted to the team and is overseeing a reshaped roster. Andy Reid also sidestepped retirement rumors, staying on with the Chiefs after his second Super Bowl win. This will be Reid’s 25th season as an NFL head coach.

Here is how the 32 HC jobs look for the 2023 season:

  1. Bill Belichick (New England Patriots): January 27, 2000
  2. Mike Tomlin (Pittsburgh Steelers): January 27, 2007; extended through 2024
  3. John Harbaugh (Baltimore Ravens): January 19, 2008; extended through 2025
  4. Pete Carroll (Seattle Seahawks): January 9, 2010; extended through 2025
  5. Andy Reid (Kansas City Chiefs): January 4, 2013; extended through 2025
  6. Sean McDermott (Buffalo Bills): January 11, 2017; extended through 2027
  7. Sean McVay (Los Angeles Rams): January 12, 2017; extended through 2023
  8. Kyle Shanahan (San Francisco 49ers): February 6, 2017; extended through 2025
  9. Mike Vrabel (Tennessee Titans): January 20, 2018; signed extension in February 2022
  10. Matt LaFleur (Green Bay Packers): January 8, 2019: signed extension in July 2022
  11. Zac Taylor (Cincinnati Bengals): February 4, 2019; extended through 2026
  12. Ron Rivera (Washington Commanders): January 1, 2020
  13. Mike McCarthy (Dallas Cowboys): January 7, 2020
  14. Kevin Stefanski (Cleveland Browns): January 13, 2020
  15. Robert Saleh (New York Jets): January 15, 2021
  16. Arthur Smith (Atlanta Falcons): January 15, 2021
  17. Brandon Staley (Los Angeles Chargers): January 17, 2021
  18. Dan Campbell (Detroit Lions): January 20, 2021
  19. Nick Sirianni (Philadelphia Eagles): January 21, 2021
  20. Matt Eberflus (Chicago Bears): January 27, 2022
  21. Brian Daboll (New York Giants): January 28, 2022
  22. Josh McDaniels (Las Vegas Raiders): January 30, 2022
  23. Kevin O’Connell (Minnesota Vikings): February 2, 2022
  24. Doug Pederson (Jacksonville Jaguars): February 3, 2022
  25. Mike McDaniel (Miami Dolphins): February 6, 2022
  26. Dennis Allen (New Orleans Saints): February 7, 2022
  27. Todd Bowles (Tampa Bay Buccaneers): March 30, 2022
  28. Frank Reich (Carolina Panthers): January 26, 2023
  29. Sean Payton (Denver Broncos): January 31, 2023
  30. DeMeco Ryans (Houston Texans): January 31, 2023
  31. Shane Steichen (Indianapolis Colts): February 14, 2023
  32. Jonathan Gannon (Arizona Cardinals): February 14, 2023

NFC East Notes: Eagles, Davis, Giants

Once again positioned as a Super Bowl frontrunner, the Eagles did lose both their starting safeties (Marcus Epps, C.J. Gardner-Johnson) and three-down linebackers (T.J. Edwards, Kyzir White) in free agency. The team has retooled at those spots, placing outside additions (Terrell Edmunds, Nicholas Morrow, third-rounder Sydney Brown) and holdovers (Reed Blankenship, Nakobe Dean) in the starter picture. Dean, a former Georgia standout who unexpectedly dropped into the 2022 third round, will be expected to start, Tim McManus of notes, adding Edmunds and Blankenship are the early expected starters at safety. But more help will probably be on the way. The spring additions aside, McManus expects the defending NFC champions to add both at safety and linebacker before the season. The Howie Roseman-era Eagles have a history of late-offseason supplementation on defense, having acquired Gardner-Johnson barely a week before last season and having traded for Ronald Darby in August 2017.

Here is the latest from the NFC East:

  • The Cardinals’ tampering violation involving Jonathan Gannon may have impacted Vic Fangio‘s decision-making this offseason. Fangio likely would have become the Eagles’ defensive coordinator had the Cardinals and Gannon been upfront about the process that led to the two-year Eagles DC leaving for Arizona, Adam Schefter of ESPN said during a recent appearance on 97.5 The Fanatic’s John Kincade Show. Cards GM Monti Ossenfort confessed to inappropriate contact with Gannon after the NFC championship game. The Cardinals officially requested a Gannon HC interview on Super Bowl Sunday, but discussions occurred before that point. The Eagles had previously eyed Fangio, who had served as a consultant for the team last season, as a Gannon replacement. Ex-Fangio lieutenant Sean Desai is now running Philly’s defense, and the team would have needed to pay up to keep Fangio, who is earning upwards of $4MM per year with the Dolphins.
  • Lane Johnson played in all three Eagles playoff games, coming back in limited form after suffering a late-season adductor injury that required offseason surgery. With that operation successful, Johnson alerted fans this week (via Twitter) he is good to go. This injury was not expected to threaten Johnson’s training camp availability, and the Eagles are on track to have their right tackle back — and on a new deal — well in time for the season.
  • Commanders linebacker Jamin Davis will miss offseason time after undergoing a cleanup procedure on his knee, Nicki Jhabvala of the Washington Post tweets. This procedure occurred earlier this year and should be considered unlikely to threaten the third-year defender’s chances of starting the season on time. A 2021 first-round pick, Davis worked as a full-time starter in Washington last season, making 104 tackles (nine for loss) and tallying three sacks.
  • The Giants are making some changes to their scouting department. D.J. Boisture, a second-generation Giants staffer who had been with the team for a decade, is no longer in place as its West Coast area scout, Neil Stratton of tweets. Pro scout Steven Price is also out, per the New York Post’s Paul Schwartz, who notes this may be a case of neither’s contract being renewed. Price spent the past three years with the Giants. GM Joe Schoen did not make many changes to Big Blue’s scouting staff last year, but the post-draft period often sees shuffling in these departments. The Giants are also promoting Marcus Cooper — an ex-Bills exec — to a national scout role. Cooper has been with the Giants for five years. Blaise Bell, who has been in the organization since 2019, will also rise to an area scout role.
  • Oshane Ximinesdeal to stay with the Giants will be worth the league minimum. The fifth-year outside linebacker will be tied to a one-year, $1.1MM deal, per The Athletic’s Dan Duggan, who notes the Giants are guaranteeing the former third-round pick $200K (Twitter link).

Eagles, Cardinals Settle Jonathan Gannon Tampering Investigation

The Eagles and Cardinals have settled a tampering investigation involving the hiring of Jonathan Gannon, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter (via Twitter). The former Eagles defensive coordinator was hired to be the Cardinals head coach earlier this offseason.

As part of the settlement, Philadelphia will receive the No. 66 pick in the draft. The Cardinals will receive pick No. 94 and a 2024 fifth-round pick.

The two teams released a statement regarding the settlement (via NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport on Twitter):

“The Arizona Cardinals and Philadelphia Eagles have agreed on the settlement of an issue concerning an instance of impermissible contact by Arizona during its head coaching search this past January.

“The Cardinals self-reported to the National Football League that General Manager Monti Ossenfort had a phone conversation with then-Eagles defensive coordinator Jonathan Gannon in the days following the NFC Championship Game, a period during which contact is not permitted under the League’s Anti-Tampering Policy.

“To resolve the matter between the two clubs, the Cardinals and Eagles have agreed to swap third round picks in the 2023 NFL Draft and the Cardinals receive Philadelphia’s fifth-round selection in 2024.”

The NFL has very specific guidelines when it comes to interviews for coaches who are still in the playoff hunt. There’s a brief period at the beginning of the playoffs where the Cardinals could have approached Gannon, and they also wouldn’t have faced consequences had they first talked with the former defensive coordinator following Philly’s Super Bowl loss.

A league source told Josina Anderson that the Cardinals were not initially truthful about their pursuit of Gannon, presumably resulting in an investigation (Twitter link). Ultimately, the Eagles managed to move up about 30 picks in the third round of the draft. Based on the popular trade chart, this means the two organizations basically equated Gannon’s value to a fourth-round pick.

Cardinals HC Jonathan Gannon Addresses Kyler Murray’s Recovery

Much of the speculation pertaining to the Cardinals at the moment is centered on wideout DeAndre Hopkins, but the health of quarterback Kyler Murray is a key storyline to monitor during the offseason. New head coach Jonathan Gannon recently spoke on the latter, who is continuing to recover from a torn ACL and meniscus.

The injury is expected to keep Murray off the field for at least the early portion of the 2023 campaign, with the team no doubt eyeing a cautious approach with the franchise signal-caller. Gannon offered a small but optimistic update on the subject of Murray’s recovery from surgery indicating that things are headed in the right direction early in the process.

“He was in Dallas with his surgeon [recently], and he’s doing well,” the rookie HC said, via Bobby Kownack of“They like where he’s at. He’s going to start doing some things in the strength room. He’s coming along well.”

Murray, 25, struggled along with nearly every Arizona player in 2022 as the team went through a disastrous campaign. The former No. 1 pick is under contract via the massive extension he signed last offseason, though, and is thus in the Cardinals’ long-term plans. Murray’s presence was a key factor in Gannon’s decision to depart the NFC champion Eagles for what is likely to be a rebuilding effort in the desert.

In the short-term, Gannon and the rest of his staff must decide on an interim starter under center until Murray’s return, something Gannon will have the final say on. Arizona has veterans Colt McCoy and David Blough as options, though the former has more familiarity with the team. In any case, a plan will be in place for the pocket passer tapped to fill in at the start of the season.

“Obviously whoever’s out there playing quarterback for us isn’t going to have the same skill set that Kyler has,” Gannon added. “So we’ll just tailor-fit what we’re doing with the offense around that guy, and then when Kyler gets back in, we’ll tailor-fit the offense around him.” 

Doing so will present a challenge to Arizona’s offensive staff led by first-time coordinator Drew Petzing. If Gannon’s optimism (which comes after that expressed by owner Michael Bidwill) ends up being well-placed, though, a relatively short absence on Murray’s part could be possible.

2023 Offensive/Defensive Coordinator Search Tracker

As the head coaching carousel spun for several weeks, many teams made coordinator changes as well. Teams seeking new head coaches are conducting OC and DC searches, and a handful of other teams that did not make HC changes are also searching for top assistants.

This is a big year for offensive coordinator hires, with nearly half the league making changes. Here are the teams searching for new OCs and DCs. As new searches emerge, they will be added to the list.

Updated 3-1-23 (3:31pm CT)

Offensive Coordinators

Arizona Cardinals 

Baltimore Ravens (Out: Greg Roman)

Carolina Panthers (Out: Ben McAdoo)

  • Thomas Brown, tight ends coach, (Rams): Hired
  • Jim Bob Cooter, passing-game coordinator (Jaguars): Interviewed

Dallas Cowboys (Out: Kellen Moore)

  • Brian Angelichio, tight ends coach (Vikings): Interviewed 2/2
  • Thomas Brown, tight ends coach (Rams): Interviewed
  • Jeff Nixon, running backs coach (Panthers): Interviewed
  • Brian Schottenheimer, offensive consultant (Cowboys): Hired

Denver Broncos (Out: Justin Outten)

Houston Texans (Out: Pep Hamilton)

Indianapolis Colts (Out: Parks Frazier)

  • Jim Bob Cooter, passing-game coordinator (Jaguars): Hired
  • Tee Martin, wide receivers coach (Ravens): Interview requested

Kansas City Chiefs (Out: Eric Bieniemy)

  • Matt Nagy, quarterbacks coach (Chiefs): Hired

Los Angeles Chargers (Out: Joe Lombardi)

Los Angeles Rams (Out: Liam Coen)

New York Jets (Out: Mike LaFleur)

Philadelphia Eagles (Out: Shane Steichen)

Tampa Bay Buccaneers (Out: Byron Leftwich)

Tennessee Titans (Out: Todd Downing)

Washington Commanders (Out: Scott Turner)

Defensive Coordinators

Arizona Cardinals (Out: Vance Joseph)

Atlanta Falcons (Out: Dean Pees)

Buffalo Bills (Out: Leslie Frazier)

Carolina Panthers (Out: Al Holcomb)

  • Ejiro Evero, former defensive coordinator (Broncos): Hired
  • Vic Fangio, former head coach (Broncos): Interviewed
  • Marquand Manuel, safeties coach (Jets): Interviewed
  • Kris Richard, co-defensive coordinator (Saints): Interviewed

Denver Broncos

Houston Texans 

Los Angeles Chargers (Out: Renaldo Hill)

  • Derrick Ansley, defensive backs coach (Chargers): Promoted
  • Doug Belk, defensive coordinator (Houston): Interviewed
  • DeMarcus Covington, defensive line coach (Patriots): Interviewed

Miami Dolphins (Out: Josh Boyer)

Minnesota Vikings (Out: Ed Donatell)

New Orleans Saints (Out: Ryan Nielsen, Kris Richard)

  • Joe Woods, former defensive coordinator (Browns): Hired

Philadelphia Eagles (Out: Jonathan Gannon)

San Francisco 49ers (Out: DeMeco Ryans)

  • Vic Fangio, former head coach (Broncos): On radar
  • Chris Harris, defensive backs coach (Commanders): Interviewed 1/31
  • Kris Kocurek, defensive line coach (49ers): On radar
  • Steve Wilks, former interim head coach (Panthers): Hired

Nick Rallis To Call Cards’ Defensive Plays

Although the Cardinals hired a defense-oriented head coach, Jonathan Gannon will cede play-calling responsibilities to his young lieutenant. Nick Rallis will be Arizona’s defensive signal-caller, Gannon said Wednesday.

Rallis, 29, is the league’s youngest active coordinator. Rather than rising a level to a non-play-calling post under Gannon, the ex-Eagles linebackers coach will be set for a significant responsibility bump. This certainly shows Gannon’s confidence in the rising assistant, and the new HC’s decision differs from the other former Eagles coordinator’s.

Shane Steichen will call the Colts’ offensive plays, but Gannon will step into a CEO role in his first Cardinals season. Gannon spent the past two years calling defensive plays in Philadelphia, helping the Eagles to top-10 rankings in total defense and points allowed. Gannon did not close the show well, seeing his defense allow 24 second-half points in the Eagles’ 38-35 Super Bowl LVII loss to the Chiefs, and he will try his hand at overseeing on game days.

The Broncos also showed interest in Rallis for their DC gig, but the former Vikings assistant was on the quality control level as recently as the 2020 season. Rallis worked as a quality control assistant on Mike Zimmer‘s staff from 2018-20, before Gannon — also an ex-Zimmer assistant — brought him to Philly in 2021.

Gannon’s decision will make the Cardinals even more interesting to observe next season. The NFC West team will have a first-time play-caller on the offensive side of the ball as well. Offensive coordinator Drew Petzing, who also coached with Gannon in Minnesota, served as the Browns’ tight ends coach from 2020-21 before being moved to quarterbacks coach last year. While Petzing had interviewed for a coordinator job previously, Rallis’ Cardinals DC interview was his first.

Kyler Murray Influenced Jonathan Gannon’s Decision To Accept Arizona HC Position

In an interesting excerpt from a conversation with new Cardinals head coach Jonathan Gannon, we learned that quarterback Kyler Murray played a huge factor in bringing the first-time head coach to Arizona, according to Peter King of NBC Sports. There was also a bit of information detailing just how badly the Eagles wanted to hang on to their former defensive coordinator.

When asked about how the “polarizing figure” of Murray factored into Gannon’s decision, Gannon frankly replied, “If Kyler Murray isn’t here, I don’t take this job.”

Gannon went on to laud the young quarterback, praising the ability he has to put defenses in a bind. He then elaborated on where he thinks he can improve on Murray’s usage. Gannon believes that Murray was utilized out of the shotgun offense far too often and that incorporating more play from under center will “take him to another level and unleash his full skill set.” Gannon claims that running more plays from under center will force defenses to have to be ready to defend plays they don’t worry about in shotgun formations, taking pressure off of the offensive line and Murray.

In light of Gannon’s plans for the 25-year-old quarterback under new offensive coordinator Drew Petzing, it’s clear that Gannon is on the positive end of the polarizing opinions of Murray. It sounds like Cardinals fans should expect Murray to remain the long-term plan at quarterback moving forward under Gannon.

King’s next question asked Gannon to expand on his exit from Philadelphia. It appears that the Eagles’ brass had some idea that Gannon would be a hot commodity and prepared a counteroffer to keep him in place. According to Gannon, the team offered him a new contract that would pay him more than he would make as a head coach.

As much as Gannon claims to have loved Philadelphia, head coach Nick Sirianni, general manager Howie Roseman, and owner Jeffrey Lurie, the prospect of becoming a head coach was too enticing. Gannon credits Cardinals owner Michael Bidwill, general manager Monti Ossenfort, and Murray with making the job so alluring, so much so that he was willing to turn down a rich new deal to retain a position in which he knew he could succeed.