Jonathan Gannon

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.

Cardinals Request OC Interviews With Drew Petzing, Drew Terrell, Joel Thomas

With Jonathan Gannon in place as the new head coach in Arizona, changes are coming on the defensive side of the ball. As for their offense, several candidates will be considered before a hire is made.

The Cardinals put out three interview requests for the offensive coordinator position on Thursday. In a trio of tweets, NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport and Tom Pelissero report that Arizona is seeking a meeting with Browns quarterbacks coach Drew Petzing, Commanders wide receivers coach Drew Terrell and Saints running backs coach Joel Thomas.

As Rapoport notes, Petzing is a strong contender to land the position. The 35-year-old worked alongside Gannon during their shared time in Minnesota, and was named as a logical hire in the event Gannon was given the head coaching position in Arizona. Petzing has spent the past three years in Cleveland, coaching the team’s tight ends before taking charge of the QBs room in 2022.

Terrell, 31, spent four years in the college ranks before making the jump to the NFL. He worked with the Panthers for two years, then went to Washington in 2020. After one season as an assistant WRs coach, the Stanford alum was promoted to the full-time position and has held it for the past two years. Rapoport adds that Terrell is highly regarded around the league despite his relative lack of experience, so it comes as little surprise that he is receiving interest for a coordinator position.

Thomas held a number of hats at the NCAA level, but has consistently worked with running backs throughout his career. He worked as an OC at Idaho in 2004 and 2005, serving in a similar capacity at Washington in 2012. His only NFL posting has been in New Orleans, beginning in 2015. The 48-year-old has been a key positional coach helping drive the success the Saints have enjoyed with Alvin Kamara and Mark Ingram in the backfield during his tenure, though, like the other two coaches, he has not received interview requests from any other team so far.

Much has been made about the importance regarding Gannon’s hire at OC, given his own background as a defensive staffer and his status as a rookie head coach. During his introductory press conference, he spoke about his commitment – regardless of whomever is tapped as offensive coordinator – to keeping the unit centered around Kyler Murray.

“I have a very specific vision of how I want to play on offense and the person that comes in here to run the offense is going to understand that everything that we do will be structured around the quarterback position to maximize his skill set,” Gannon said, via ESPN’s Josh Weinfuss“And we have an elite one.”

Gannon added that he expects to start the interview process to begin in the next few days, so a decision will likely not come long after as he works to build his staff.

Cardinals Hire Jonathan Gannon As HC

The final head coaching vacancy of the 2023 head coaching cycle is set to be filled. The Cardinals are finalizing a deal to make Eagles defensive coordinator Jonathan Gannon their new HC, per ESPN’s Adam Schefter (Twitter link). The team has since confirmed the hire.

Signs increasingly pointed to Gannon being the Cardinals’ top choice beginning on Super Bowl Sunday, when it was reported that an interview would be set up. At that point, Arizona was believed to be down to two finalists to lead their staff (Bengals defensive coordinator Lou Anarumo and Giants offensive coordinator Mike Kafka). Things quickly shifted, and now Gannon is set for his first head coaching gig.

Monday, a report surfaced that the Cardinals had essentially narrowed down their list of finalists to Gannon and Anarumo. Today’s news confirms that, and leaves Kafka in place for another season at the helm of the Giants’ offense, a role in which he achieved unexpected success. Anarumo, meanwhile, is now free to prepare for a fifth consecutive season in charge of the Bengals’ defense, a unit which has come on strong in recent years in particular. Brian Flores was among the candidates receiving serious consideration for Arizona’s HC vacancy, but he withdrew to take the Vikings’ defensive coordinator position.

Gannon, 39, joined Nick Sirianni in making the jump from Indianapolis to Philadelphia in 2021. The Eagles’ defense performed well in their first season together, putting up the league’s No. 10 total defense. The unit took a considerable step forward with another year of Gannon at the helm and an infusion of several high-end players during the offseason. In 2022, Philadelphia ranked top-10 in both both points and yards allowed, figures which helped guide the team to the No. 1 seed in the NFC.

Strong performances in the postseason (including an NFC title game against the 49ers, who were without a healthy quarterback for much of the game, in fairness) took the Eagles to the Super Bowl. Much has been made about the team’s breakdown in the second half in particular against the Chiefs, but Gannon still boasts a strong resume given his success in his first coordinator gig. That has translated to a first-time HC posting, where he will build off of a strong relationship with new Cardinals GM Monti Ossenfort.

Ian Rapoport of NFL Network tweets that the personal connection between the pair helped give Gannon an edge over Anarumo, who interviewed well. Now, attention will turn to his choice for offensive coordinator, and his ability to steer the team back towards contention after a disastrous 2022 season. Arizona’s regression left it as little surprise that both Kliff Kingsbury and Steve Keim are no longer in place, despite each having multiple years remaining on their contracts before their departures.

Gannon will face a tall order in terms of helping the Cardinals take a step forward on both sides of the ball, as his now-former Eagles counterpart Shane Steichen does in Indianapolis. The reporting of Gannon’s hire comes mere hours after Steichen’s was announced by the Colts, leaving the Eagles as the first team in a decade to lose both their offensive and defensive coordinators in the same offseason. Attention will now turn to how Philadelphia compensates, as well as how Gannon fills out his staff as the coaching cycle winds down.

2023 NFL Head Coaching Search Tracker

Last year, 10 NFL teams hired new head coaches. Following the Panthers, Broncos and Texans’ hires, this year’s vacancy count sits at two. 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 2-14-23 (1:30pm CT)

Arizona Cardinals

Carolina Panthers

Denver Broncos

Houston Texans

Indianapolis Colts

Eagles Attempting To Keep Jonathan Gannon, Eyed Vic Fangio As Potential Replacement

Following the Eagles’ narrow loss in Super Bowl LVII, Jonathan Gannon stayed in Arizona for his Cardinals interview. The second-year defensive coordinator has gained steam for the Arizona HC gig to the point he looks to be the favorite.

Gannon has been on the Cardinals’ radar for a bit, and the Eagles are at least making a pitch to keep him. The NFC champions have attempted to convince Gannon to stay on as their DC, Albert Breer of notes. Gannon was a Texans finalist last year, but the Cardinals have been the only team to seriously consider him this year.

Although the Cardinals’ search appeared to have dwindled to Lou Anarumo and Mike Kafka entering Super Bowl LVII, Fox Sports’ Ralph Vacchiano adds rumblings persisted about their interest in interviewing Gannon and Eagles OC Shane Steichen for a while. Gannon and new Cardinals GM Monti Ossenfort, per Vacchiano, have been friends for a bit, despite never working together. Steichen is on track to become the next Colts head coach.

The Eagles had used Vic Fangio as a defensive consultant throughout the season, per the Philadelphia Inquirer’s Jeff McLane (on Twitter), and the accomplished defensive coach had planned to stay on through Super Bowl LVII all along. This arrangement kept his Dolphins gig from becoming official for a bit. Signed to a three-year deal worth more than $4.5MM per season, Fangio is now believed to be the NFL’s highest-paid defensive coordinator. He would have likely been the top option to replace Gannon, Breer adds, but several teams showed interest before the Philly DC vacancy became likely. The 49ers also appeared to have Fangio as their top option, but the Dolphins’ offer won out.

Should Gannon end up being the Cardinals’ next HC, Vacchiano notes Eagles passing-game coordinator Dennard Wilson would make for a natural replacement candidate. Wilson, 40, has been an NFL DBs coach since 2015, serving in that capacity with the Rams, Jets and Eagles. He interviewed for the Browns’ DC job earlier this year, seeing it go to ex-Eagles DC Jim Schwartz.

Steichen and Gannon both leaving would make the Eagles the first team to see both their coordinators land HC jobs since the 2013 Bengals, who lost Jay Gruden and Mike Zimmer. The Cardinals have been at this HC search for a while, and their job might end up being the last one filled. The team saw Brian Flores — a reported finalist — bow out of the race, and higher-profile target Sean Payton chose the Broncos. Dan Quinn also withdrew from multiple searches, while DeMeco Ryans cancelled his Cardinals and Colts interviews. Frank Reich landed in Carolina. It is not known how far Reich was going to advance in Arizona’s search, but this process has dragged into a sixth week now.