TEMPE, Ariz. (AP)The Arizona Cardinals hired Philadelphia Eagles defensive coordinator Jonathan Gannon on Tuesday to be their next head coach.
Gannon replaces Kliff Kingsbury, who was fired last month after going 4-13 in his fourth season. Gannon becomes Arizona’s fourth coach in seven years and the second Eagles coordinator to become a head coach after Shane Steichen was hired by Indianapolis on Tuesday.
The 40-year-old Gannon has been Philadelphia’s defensive coordinator the past two seasons, helping rebuild a defense that helped the Eagles reach the Super Bowl last Sunday. The Eagles lost to Kansas City 38-35 at State Farm Stadium, home of the Cardinals.
The Eagles had the NFL’s No. 2 defense this season and the third-most sacks in NFL history with 78 under Gannon in 2022. Philadelphia led the NFL with 70 sacks this season – 15 more than any other team.
Gannon’s resume took a bit of a hit during the Super Bowl. The Eagles coughed up a 10-point halftime lead and couldn’t stop Kansas City’s Patrick Mahomes, even though the MVP wasn’t moving at his best because of a sprained ankle.
That hiccup wasn’t enough to deter Cardinals owner Michael Bidwill, who is trying to find a leader who can help the franchise win its first NFL championship since 1947.
Gannon’s hiring is the first major move by general manager Monti Ossenfort, who was hired last month after Steve Keim and the team parted ways.
Gannon inherits a defense spearheaded by Pro Bowl safety Budda Baker and young linebackers Isaiah Simmons and Zaven Collins. Arizona also is potentially looking at a roster overhaul with roughly 30 unrestricted free agents and the retirement of three-time NFL defensive player of the year J.J. Watt.
The Cardinals also have the No. 3 overall pick in the upcoming draft.
One of Gannon’s first tasks will be connecting with franchise quarterback Kyler Murray, who tore the ACL in his right knee late last season and is expected to miss at least a few games next fall.
The two-time Pro Bowl selection regressed some during his fourth season, though the former No. 1 overall pick was still productive when healthy. He signed a $230.5 million deal during last year’s offseason that could keep him with the franchise through 2028.
Before being hired by the Eagles, Gannon served as the defensive backs coach for the Colts from 2018-20. He also worked as an assistant defensive backs/quality control coach for the Minnesota Vikings from 2014-17 and held the same position with the Tennessee Titans from 2012-13.
Gannon began his coaching career as a defensive assistant with the Atlanta Falcons in 2007 and worked as a scout for the Rams from 2009-10. He played defensive back at Louisville in 2002 before sustaining a career-ending hip injury and served as a graduate assistant at his alma mater.
AP Pro Football Writer Rob Maaddi and AP Sports Writer David Brandt contributed.
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