For a minute there it looked like Sean Payton would be the last man standing in the Arizona Cardinals head coach search, but the Cincinnati Bengals’ loss in the AFC championship game on Sunday put a couple of new names into contention. NFL Network reports that the Cardinals have requested permission to interview Bengals defensive coordinator Lou Anarumo (via Peter Schrager) as well as Cincinnati offensive coordinator Brian Callahan (via Tom Pelissero) for their open head coach position.
So both Bengals coordinators could be added to the mix, if they want to pursue this job. Anarumo and Callahan have proven instrumental in Cincinnati’s success — helping the Bengals reach the Super Bowl last year and return to the conference title game this time around. It wouldn’t be a shock to see either of them hired away by Arizona.
Which wouldn’t be good for the Saints, who need Payton to be traded this offseason so they can receive some much-needed draft picks. New Orleans is one of five teams that doesn’t own a pick in the first round of this year’s NFL draft, and trading Payton to another franchise is their easiest path to getting back there. Even if they can’t get a first rounder for him, adding a bevy of second- and third-round picks would be a fine consolation prize (it’s not like the Saints have drafted well in the first round in recent years, anyway).
So stay tuned to find out whether Callahan or Anarumo even agree to interview with Arizona, and whether they impress strongly enough to be offered the job. Payton has said he expects some movement and hirings around the league this week, so hopefully this saga will get resolved soon one way or another.