After the Arizona Cardinals reached the postseason a year ago for the first time since 2015, the franchise fell back down to earth with an underwhelming 2022-23 campaign. The Cardinals finished last in the NFC West with a 4-13 record, while seeing franchise quarterback Kyler Murray suffer a season-ending ACL injury in Week 14. The dismal finish resulted in the firing of head coach Kliff Kingsbury, who had helmed the team since 2019.
The next candidate to step in and fill Arizona’s coaching vacancy may have little to work with on the roster now, but it sets up an opportunity to build for the future. Murray’s return gives the next head coach an experienced franchise quarterback under center, while draft capital and a solid amount of cap space can help round out the rest of the roster.
Here are the odds for the Cardinals’ next head coach at DraftKings Sportsbook.
Top 10 favorites for new Cardinals head coach
Sean Payton +300
Vance Joseph +350
Demeco Ryans +500
Brian Flores +750
Ben Johnson +1200
Shane Steichen +1500
Byron Leftwich +1700
Mike Kafka +1800
Eric Bieniemy +1800
Kellen Moore +2000
Sean Payton, +300
If Arizona envisions having a top-tier offense in the near future then it’s clear why Payton is atop the list of coaching candidates. During his tenure with the Saints, Payton led the franchise to the postseason in 11 of his 15 seasons at the helm, with a Super Bowl win on his resume back in 2009. With Payton as his head coach, Drew Brees led the league in passing in seven of his 15 seasons, while throwing for the most touchdowns in four of their 15 years together.
It remains to be seen exactly when Murray will return to the field, as Kinsbury was hesitant in promising his availability for the start of the 2023 season. But if Payton is hired, then it would come with the hope that he replicates the success he had with Brees in the same manner for Murray.
Vance Joseph, +350
If Arizona opts to stay in-house with their next coaching hire, then Joseph makes sense as one of the favorites for the job. In addition to having head coaching experience on his resume, he is reportedly well-respected in the organization already, giving him an advantage over external candidates. The Cardinals finished sixth in DVOA back in 2021, and perhaps the team’s third overall pick in this year’s draft, coupled with free agent signings, can help get the unit back on track with Joseph at the helm.
Hiring Joseph would surely mean trusting him in picking a quality candidate for offensive coordinator, as building around Murray will be the precedent. Fortifying the offensive line, and bolstering their play-calling with an innovative OC, should help propel Arizona’s offense back on track.
Shane Steichen, +1000
The Eagles’ offensive coordinator has been among the league’s most impressive offensive coaches in the last two seasons, and the method to his success should speak volumes. In 2021, Philadelphia notched a wild-card spot on the back of a run-heavy offense. In 2022, the Eagles secured the NFC’s number-one seed thanks to an MVP-caliber season from Jalen Hurts, who increased his completion percentage to 66.5 percent while throwing for 3,701 yards, 22 touchdowns, and just six interceptions.
Steichen’s success with young quarterbacks goes back to his days with the Chargers, as he served as the offensive coordinator in Justin Herbert’s Offensive Rookie of the Year campaign. With a track record of crafting offenses tailored to a franchise quarterback’s strengths, hiring Steichen would mean betting he achieves the same success upon Murray’s return to the field.