Cards could face major changes next season

The Arizona Cardinals aren’t even a week removed from losing Super Bowl XLIII and already they need to fill both coordinator positions, convince starting quarterback Kurt Warner to return next season and deal with wide receiver Anquan Boldin’s continued unhappiness. Oh yeah, and linebacker Karlos Dansby is also set to become a free agent.

On Friday, the Chiefs hired Todd Haley – the mastermind behind the Cardinals’ dynamic offense in 2008 – to become their next head coach. Not 24 hours later, Arizona fired coordinator Clancy Pendergast, despite his success coming up with defensive schemes to thwart top NFC runners Michael Turner, DeAngelo Williams, Brian Westbrook and Willie Parker in the playoffs.

The loss of Haley is significant because he developed all the game plans and called the plays for the Cards’ biggest strength: their offense. It’s unsure at this point why the team fired Pendergast, but the franchise must have someone waiting in the wings because you don’t make a dramatic move like that without having a game plan in place.

If Arizona can’t re-sign Warner and Dansby, then has to part with Boldin because they can’t appease his contract demands, then we could be looking at a very different Cardinals team than the one that took the field last Sunday in the Super Bowl. By all accounts, the team shouldn’t have much of a problem convincing Warner to return, but Dansby will be a highly sought-after free agent who is only 27 and in the prime of his career.

Boldin’s situation is a different animal. He requested that the team trade him last preseason due to a lack of contract respect, and then threw a tantrum on the sidelines during the NFC Championship Game because Haley replaced him during a pivotal offensive series. Just recently, Boldin said that his relationship with the Cardinals was irreparable. At the end of the day, the team might not have a choice but to cut ties with the underrated receiver and trade him so his situation doesn’t continue to be a distraction.

In order for the Cards not take a major step back, the two coordinators that the team chooses will need to be sound hires. It would be wise for Arizona to then make re-signing Warner and Dansby their next priority, and then deal with Boldin since he’s already under contract and can’t bolt on his own accord. Nevertheless, this will be an interesting offseason in Arizona.

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Report: Todd Haley to become Chiefs’ next head coach

According to Jay Glazer of Fox Sports, the Chiefs have decided to offer their head-coaching job to Cardinals’ offensive coordinator Todd Haley.

Todd HaleyThe Chiefs offered the position to Cardinals offensive coordinator Todd Haley and he has accepted, FOXSports.com has learned. They are now trying to work out terms of a contract agreement.

Haley interviewed for the position earlier this week and a Cardinals player at the Pro Bowl told FOXSports.com Haley was scheduled to arrive in Honolulu for the Pro Bowl Thursday as a guest of Cardinals wideout Larry Fitzgerald, but canceled at the last moment because of the Kansas City job.
“He’s going to be a big loss for us,” another Cards player told FOXSports.com.

A different Cardinals player said, “He was really liked in the locker room, because we felt like he was always trying to figure something out for us for Sundays. He never stopped.”

Haley called the plays for the high-flying Cardinals offense that shocked the world by not only getting to the Super Bowl, but nearly winning it last Sunday.

I wonder if this means Tony Gonzalez will want to stick around now that new GM Scott Pioli has decided to hire Haley instead of a college coach. Gonzo hinted earlier this week that he might want to bolt KC if the Chiefs hired someone from the collegiate ranks.

Haley seems like a sound choice on many levels. He obviously knows what it takes for a team to reach the Super Bowl and he seems like the type of coach that can gain the respect of players. He has also already proven that he won’t take insubordination from any player and he has the smarts to draw up some dynamic game plans. Now it’s up to Pioli to rebuild the roster and give Haley talent to work with.

Kurt Warner likely to return to Arizona next season

Despite the recent talk that he could retire this offseason, it looks like Kurt Warner will return next year as the starting quarterback for the Arizona Cardinals.

Kurt WarnerHe will be back. And he likely will sign a new, two-year contract extension – possibly in the neighborhood of $18-20 million – to try and lead this once-woebegone franchise right back into glorious history.

Give it two weeks, three weeks tops.

That was the word circulating through the Warner camp before and following the Cardinals’ 27-23 loss to the Steelers in Tampa. And unless management completely drops the ball and short-changes the quarterback at the negotiating table, it’s appears to be a done deal.

Still, Warner would make no such public assumptions. He did say on Tuesday he wants to finish his career with the Cardinals.

“That’s my mindset,” he said. “If I’m going to keep playing, I don’t want to change teams.”

Outside of Anquan Boldin and Todd Haley’s possible departures, Arizona is the perfect place for Warner. He benefits playing in a dome eight times a year because his arm strength is fading fast, he knows the offense and he has a multitude of weapons at his disposal. At this point in his career, he can’t be the guy anymore but he can obviously be very effective in the right situation. And the Cardinals are definitely the right situation for him.

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