Cardinals ownership recently reached out to Mike McCarthy, league sources said, gauging his interest in their soon-to-be-vacant head coaching job and making it clear the franchise would make sweeping changes and give McCarthy say over personnel if he was interested. The former Packers head coach – who has a Lombardi Trophy on his resume – does not intend to pursue the opening, however.
The Cardinals would have been willing to move on from general manager Steve Keim, the sources said. With the Cardinals unlikely to attract the kind of coach who would garner personnel control, Keim is very likely to be back with the team in 2019, and he has been putting together a list of head coaching candidates, league sources said. There is trepidation among some coaches set to interview for head coaching jobs about Cardinals rookie quarterback Josh Rosen and his ability to flourish, and the Cardinals also had to deal with trade demands from their best player, Patrick Peterson, this season.
Head coach Steve Wilks lasting only one year as a rookie head coach in Arizona also concerns some in the coaching community, and with the NFC West among the tougher divisions in football and Arizona's roster not stacking up with many others, the Cardinals may have difficulty landing the type of coach they covet.
A year ago their lengthy process took several turns, with Steelers assistant and former Titans head coach Mike Munchak dropping out at a time when he was the preferred candidate. The Cardinals have the potential to land the first-overall pick, which could help their cause, but other teams seeking coaches have quarterbacks who are considered preferable.
As for McCarthy, sources close to him continue to say he will be very judicious about any head-coaching openings he pursues, and if the perfect spot does not present itself he will be very content to sit out a year to spend time with loved ones. He has a year left on his contract with the Packers and, while blind-sided by his in-season firing, loves living in Green Bay and will remain a top candidate next year. With the 2020 quarterback draft already shaping up as far superior to the upcoming 2019 draft – with Oregon's Justin Herbert staying in school for 2019, as expected – that factor is not lost on McCarthy, a former quarterback coach who is also a play caller.