The Arizona Cardinals are in the process of overhauling their front office and sideline leadership positions, and have taken at least one step in building their team for the future.
The organization has hired Monti Ossenfort as their new general manager. He takes over for the recently departed Steve Keim. The Cardinals finished with a record of 80-80 during the ten years Keim was in charge of molding the roster.
Ossenfort will look to get the Cardinals back into the postseason, which they qualified for just one year ago.
Bringing In A New Coach
One of Ossenfort’s most pressing duties will come in the next few days and possibly weeks, as he helps to select the franchise’s new coach. Arizona fired head coach Kliff Kingsbury after the regular season concluded, and it’ll be interesting to see who Ossenfort thinks is the right person to lead the next era of Cardinals football.
Since the organization recently attempted to placate quarterback Kyler Murray by hiring an offensive minded head coach, it’ll be fascinating to see whether Ossenfort tries to go that route again. If he does, he might want to bring someone in with a little more NFL experience than Kingsbury had. The new general manager might also change course by bringing in someone who is more defensive minded.
Important Player Personnel Decisions
Ossenfort’s other main job will be to objectively assess the Cardinals roster, and decide how to shape it moving forward. It’s going to be a curious review, since Kyler Murray will likely miss some undetermined portion of the 2023 season. With Murray’s rehabilitation and timeline in mind, it’s possible Ossenfort looks at this rebuild as more of a long term project, rather than a short term fix. There’s also the chance that Ossenfort tries to bring in a reliable bridge option to keep Arizona competitive while Murray is on the mend.
Ossenfort will also need to determine whether wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins should remain with the Cardinals. There have been rumors that the franchise is looking to trade him, and he figures to command a valuable trade package for any interested suitors. Hopkins remains Arizona’s best playmaker, but his departure could jumpstart a team looking to fill holes around the roster.
Monti Ossenfort comes to Arizona by way of the Tennessee Titans, where he served as the director of player personnel for the last three seasons. Tennessee made the postseason in two of those three years, and came up just short of qualifying for the playoffs this year.
Before he joined the Titans, Ossenfort worked for the New England Patriots for 14 years, winning four Super Bowls during his stint with that organization. This context helps explain why he was interested in going to Tennessee, as Titans head coach Mike Vrabel also got his start with New England. Without that level of prior familiarity in Arizona, it’ll be intriguing to see whether Ossenfort can implement his philosophy on a team who may have historically operated much differently than New England has over the years.