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Cardinals Reportedly Get Permission To Talk To Sean Payton In Coach Search

Michael Bidwill had said there was 'urgency' in making hires for GM, coach

Then-Saints head coach Sean Payton shakes hands with then-Cardinals coach Bruce Arians before a game in 2015 in Arizona.
Then-Saints head coach Sean Payton shakes hands with then-Cardinals coach Bruce Arians before a game in 2015 in Arizona.

The Cardinals continue to search for their next general manager and next head coach, and while Michael Bidwill said the biggest name out there isn't necessarily the best hire, the Cardinals reportedly will look into the biggest name.

NFL Network reported on Wednesday that the Cardinals had received permission to talk with Sean Payton, the former Saints coach who stepped down from that team after the 2021 season but remains under contract. It is the first external coach's name to emerge as a potential Cardinals target.

Bidwill had declined to answer on Monday if he was planning on reaching out to Payton specifically.

"What I am willing to do financially is get the best coach and the best GM," Bidwill said. "I don't know (that) the biggest name correlates to the best coach, so I guess what I would say is I definitely want to make sure that we get the best coach

Payton has already reportedly talked to the Broncos, and the Texans also plan to speak with him. Because he is still under contract with the Saints, any team wanting to hire him would have to compensate the Saints in a trade, in addition to whatever contract Payton is given.

While teams can have an initial conversation with Payton to judge his interest, he can only have a virtual interview at this point. In-person coaching interviews can start Jan. 17.

The bulk of the reported names the Cardinals have or want to interview have been GMs, and Bidwill said his preference was to hire a GM first. "But if that doesn't happen, we're not going to be afraid to hire the right head coach and we're looking forward on those interviews," Bidwill added.

Those external GM candidates the Cardinals have reportedly interviewed or seek permission to interview: former Giants GM Jerry Reese, Bears assistant GM Ian Cunningham, 49ers director of pro personnel Ran Carthon, and Titans director of player personnel Monti Ossenfort.

49ers assistant GM Adam Peters reportedly declined a request from both the Cardinals and the Titans to interview for open GM jobs.

Bidwill has already interview internal personnel VPs Quentin Harris and Adrian Wilson for the GM job, and is expected to interview defensive coordinator Vance Joseph for the vacant coaching spot.

Bidwill said Monday that "there's an incredible sense of urgency" to make the hires, although he added that there was no fixed list of candidates.