With the Arizona Cardinals already in the midst of finding their new head coach, there is other news that is coming out about that search.
First, the Cardinals have a bevy of talented coaches lined up for interviews and Adam Gase and the Cardinals brass are meeting today, January 2, 2019, to which this could be the guy the team wants to hire.
Outside of Gase, they have interviews lined up with Zac Taylor, the Rams quarterback coach, Kliff Kingsbury, the USC offensive coordinator and former Texas Tech head coach, as well as Dan Campbell.
They are rumored to be interested in Todd Bowles, Jim Caldwell and potential Chuck Pagano as well.
To say they are short on choices would be wrong.
However, there were two names associated with the Cardinals from the start that have said thanks but no thanks.
Mike McCarthy was allegedly offered the keys to the Arizona Cardinals kingdom and passed.
Now, whether or not that report is true, he cited early on he may take a year away from the game and declined to interview with the Cardinals altogether.
Now, he is interviewing for the job with the New York Jets and Cleveland Browns.
There is a simple explanation with McCarthy, he has two sons in high school and both are going to finish school in Green Bay. Which means McCarthy wants to be close to Green Bay.
However, that doesn’t exactly explain why New York is on the list and Arizona is not.
While Cleveland is the easiest to understand in terms of proximity, the New York aspect is something the Cardinals cannot and will likely never be able to compete with... It is New York.
Last season, the Cardinals top target, allegedly, was Pat Shurmur. He ended up in New York simply because... It is New York. Did they have a better roster? Debatable, although they have more star power at skill positions and unlike the Cardinals last year, had quarterbacks in house and plenty of money to spend. That’s the thing, the Jets situation is similar.
While they don’t have David Johnson, they do have Sam Darnold. They also have the means to acquire Le’Veon Bell and really anyone they choose in free agency, as the Jets have over $105,000,000 in cap space.
Finally, McCarthy has as much cache in the NFL as any head coach candidate could have. He has the ability to pick and choose his spots. So, a rebuff of the Cardinals, after a 3-13 season and firing their head coach after one year, may not be what McCarthy is looking for.
Mike McCarthy declined the #Cardinals' advances recently, but that wasn't a sign he has decided to take a year off. Just looking for the right opportunity. Sam Darnold's presence is one big reason the #Jets job could be intriguing.— Tom Pelissero (@TomPelissero) January 1, 2019
Eric Bienemy turning down the Arizona Cardinals is the more interesting and quite frankly concerning turn of events.
The old cliche that there are only 32 jobs available seems like one that fits, but the Cardinals have been spurned before with a coach deciding they’d rather be an assistant than the head coach in Arizona.
Mike Munchak, one of the Cardinals alleged favorites last year, declined to come back for a second interview with the team. He is now making the rounds as a head coaching candidate again, with Green Bay and Denver leading the charge.
Then there is the Bruce Arians thing. Too sick to finish out his contract in Arizona, Arians is now openly pining for the Cleveland Browns job and willing to take, what seems like from the outside looking in, a worse job with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
It may be all coincidence, but of the names being interviewed the most, the Cardinals have been turned down by thre; McCarthy, Bienemy and Munchak.
We've heard almost 30 names connected with the 8 current NFL HC openings— Dan Hatman (@Dan_Hatman) January 1, 2019
Based on the volume of interest (interviews/requests/etc), these 8 names seem to be the most coveted
They seem to not have interest in Brian Flores, who they were in on early last season, Vic Fangio and Kris Richard, clearly they are leaning towards an offensive minded head coach.
There was also the comment about playing their cards close to their vest this time around, which good friend Jess Root had an astute observation on:
Something inferred from comments on keeping things "close to the vest": They didn't get who they initially wanted last year.— Jess Root (@senorjessroot) December 31, 2018
So, are they trying to keep things closer this time in the sense of not letting the names they request interviews with and decline get out there? Or are they not wanting it to get out that a Munchak interviewed and said thanks, but I’m good?
I don’t think this is the worst job in the NFL, but I think it is one of the hardest to sale.
That’s what Michael Bidwill and Steve Keim have to do now, sale this position, or they could end up right back here in 2020... Or worse.