Bears exec Ian Cunningham to interview Thursday for Cardinals opening, per report

Jan 12, 2023, 7:40 AM | Updated: 7:52 am

President and owner Michael Bidwill of the Arizona Cardinals before the NFL preseason game against ...

President and owner Michael Bidwill of the Arizona Cardinals before the NFL preseason game against the Kansas City Chiefs at State Farm Stadium on August 20, 2021 in Glendale, Arizona. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

(Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

Chicago Bears assistant general manager Ian Cunningham will interview for the Arizona Cardinals’ open GM position on Thursday, reports NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport.

Cunningham spent his first year with the Bears this season under GM Ryan Poles.

His start in the NFL goes back to 2008, when he was a player personnel assistant for the Baltimore Ravens until 2012.

He changed roles to an area scout from 2013-16 and then moved on to the Philadelphia Eagles, where he advanced up the ladder to director of college scouting (2017-18), assistant director of player personnel (2019-20) and then director of player personnel (2021).

The Eagles, of course, have had a similar rise. The team he played a part in building just finished with the best record in the NFC, at 14-3.

Arizona is replacing general manager Steve Keim, who had been in his role since 2013 and stepped away officially as the season came to an end in order to focus on his health.

Rapoport adds Cardinals owner Michael Bidwill, who is leading the search, already has met with Cunningham at the NFL’s Front Office Accelerator program, which most recently took place on Dec. 13-14.

Bidwill on Monday spoke generally about that diversity program and that his participation played a part in preparing for a general manager search.

“That gave us an ability to visit with and get to know a number of the up-and-coming GM and personnel candidates,” he said. “So I already feel like we’ve started down that road and these won’t be the first conversations I’ve had with a number of these folks — not knowing where we’d be today back in May or even last month.

“So I think it’s been a very good process that the NFL has created and it’s given me and us a real head start.”

As of Thursday morning, the Cardinals have reportedly requested to interview five general manager candidates: Cunningham, former New York Giants GM Jerry Reese, Tennesee Titans director of player personnel Monti Ossenfort, San Francisco 49ers director of player personnel Ran Carthon and 49ers assistant GM Adam Peters.

Bidwill interviewed Reese on Tuesday, according to a report by NFL media’s Jim Trotter.

Bidwill said he has already met with in-house candidates in director of player personnel Quentin Harris and director of pro personnel Adrian Wilson. Both took on more duties with Keim stepping away in mid-December on a health-related leave.

The Cardinals have also been readying to hire a new head coach to replace the fired Kliff Kingsbury.

They have received permission from New Orleans to interview former Saints head coach Sean Payton, while defensive coordinator Vance Joseph reportedly is a candidate to be elevated.

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