Sunday afternoon against the Seattle Seahawks marks the end — and possible end — to many things. It is the end of the season. It is possibly the end of Carson Palmer or Larry Fitzgerald’s career. It could be the end of some players’ tenure with the Arizona Cardinals, as they are set to have over 20 free agents hit the open market.
And, last but not least, this could be the end of Bruce Arians’ career.
Many rumors, whether they are true or not, have begun circulating regarding Arians and whether or not he will retire. Some reports even state the Cardinals have already started making calls to gauge the interest of other coaches in coming to the desert. We can sit here and guess all day as to who the potential targets might be (which we will probably do at some point), but more importantly, how attractive is the head coaching spot for this team?
First, let’s look at some other teams that could/will have head coaching vacancies. The New York Giants and Cincinnati Bengals are two definites, while the Chicago Bears, Indianapolis Colts and Houston Texans are all teams that could join them. The last three all offer something right off the bat that Arizona doesn’t: young, talented quarterbacks. Andrew Luck and Deshaun Watson will be returning from injury, but coaches taking those jobs already start in a much better position than they would inherit with an aging Cardinals team.
So if we are to arbitrarily rank the Cardinals in terms of destinations as compared to other locales, I think it’s fair to put them right in the middle of the pack. Yes, they have aging stars in Fitzgerald and Palmer, but they also boast some productive young talent with players like David Johnson, Patrick Peterson, Chandler Jones, Budda Baker, and others.
You can also add location and fan base to the “pros” list for the Cardinals job. Never having to worry about playing home games in cold weather or in front of an empty stadium are definitely two bonuses for potential coaching candidates.
There’s also the fact that the Cardinals have a good infrastructure. Michael Bidwill has proven to be a fantastic team president that is willing to do what is necessary to help the team win. Meanwhile, General Manager Steve Keim has stockpiled some nice pieces to help the team transition into a new phase.
Overall, there’s definitely no job that is “unattractive” to a head coaching candidate. There are only 32 of these jobs in the world and some of them, such as the Pittsburgh Steelers or New England Patriots, never seem to open up. So while the Cardinals may not get their pick of the litter, they are sure to land a talented coach that can help carry this franchise into the future.