The Cardinals are in the market for a new general manager and head coach. Here are five potential head coach candidates for the Arizona Cardinals.
1. Sean Payton
Payton posted a 152-89 record during his 15 seasons coaching the New Orleans Saints. The highlight of his time there was his Super Bowl win with Drew Brees under center. He has since stepped away from the Saints and is working as an analyst on Fox. It isn’t much of a secret that Payton wants back in the coaching world.
For the Cardinals to turn things around, they need to get Kyler Murray back healthy and then need to help him improve. Payton is the ideal coach for that, but he will likely have plenty of offers and could return to Fox as an analyst. The Cardinals may need to give him control of the roster as well as a very lucrative contract in order to land him.
2. Jim Harbaugh
Harbaugh is currently the head coach at the University of Michigan. He just took the Wolverines to the College Football Playoff for the second-straight season and took some NFL interviews last offseason. Harbaugh coached the 49ers for four seasons and had a 44-19-1 record. He was able to make a Super Bowl during his time as an NFL head coach.
Due to some recent recruiting violations, Harbaugh’s name is back in the rumor mill for an NFL job, even if he is publicly denying it. Harbaugh was able to use a mobile quarterback, Colin Kaepernick, well during his stint with the 49ers. If Harbaugh is looking for a way out, he could take the Cardinals job.
3. Byron Leftwich
Leftwich has been the offensive coordinator for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers since 2019, where he helped the team win a Super Bowl. He also spent time with the Cardinals as an assistant from 2016-2018. Before that, he had a 10-year playing career with stops at Jacksonville, Atlanta, Pittsburgh and Tampa Bay.
During his time as an assistant, Leftwich learned under Bruce Arians, who was one of the more successful coaches the Cardinals have had. Leftwich started his coaching journey in Arizona and if they want to recapture what they had during Arians’s tenure, they could bring him in. The Buccaneers passed him over for their head coaching job, even though he has been a big name in the coaching market the last few seasons.
4. Ken Dorsey
Dorsey is currently the offensive coordinator for the Buffalo Bills. Prior to that, he was the quarterbacks coach for the Bills and the Panthers. During his time with both organizations, he helped develop Cam Newton for Carolina and Josh Allen for Buffalo. He also had a pro career with time spent in San Francisco and Cleveland.
With his time spent mentoring young quarterbacks, Dorsey is a good candidate to be hired and work with Murray once he is healed. If given time, he could get the offense rolling. He doesn’t have any head coaching experience, but Dorsey will likely be hired soon.
5. Frank Reich
Reich was fired from the Indianapolis Colts this season, after posting a 40-33-1 record over five seasons with the team. He made the playoffs in two of his five seasons with the team. Before his time in Indianapolis, he helped Philadelphia win a Super Bowl as their offensive coordinator.
One of the biggest reasons that Reich was fired was the organization’s inability to find a quarterback. With Arizona, Reich has a quarterback in place, which means he could show off what has made him known as a good offensive mind. He might take a year off from coaching, but if not, the Cardinals could hire him.
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