ARIZONA CARDINALS

Arizona Cardinals owner Michael Bidwill gushes about GM Monti Ossenfort 1 year into job

Feb 23, 2024, 10:15 AM | Updated: 11:32 am

Arizona Cardinals owner Michael Bidwill had high praise for Monti Ossenfort just more than a year into Ossenfort’s first job as an NFL team’s general manager.

“Monti came from New England where he was Bill Belichick’s right-hand personnel person up there for years,” Bidwill said on Bickley & Marotta. “(Patriots owner) Robert Kraft told me, ‘hey, if we were ever going to hire a general manager,’ Monti would be No. 1 on his list. So I know we got a great one and you just look at the last year, the great success we had in free agency and with the draft and some of the moves he made throughout the season.

“And you just look at the last year — the great success we had in free agency and with the draft and some of the moves that he made throughout the season. And we’re just a couple of weeks away from free agency. I’m super excited about his plan going into free agency.”

Since being hired in January 2023, Ossenfort has overhauled the Cardinals’ roster, moving on from multiple players left over from the Steve Keim era. The most notable of these moves was when the Cardinals traded 2020 No. 8 pick Isaiah Simmons to the New York Giants in August.

Ossenfort’s first NFL Draft as general manager received high marks both after the draft and after the season. NFL.com rated Arizona’s draft class No. 5 out of 32 teams in May and No. 10 after the season ended.

The Cardinals were one of the biggest movers on draft night, trading the No. 3 pick and the No. 105 pick to the Texans for the No. 12 pick, a 2024 first-round pick and a 2024 third-round pick.

Arizona then moved back up to No. 6, trading the No. 12 pick and two second-rounders to the Detroit Lions. The Cardinals were also able to acquire a fifth-round pick. With the No. 6 pick, Arizona drafted tackle Paris Johnson Jr. He put together a solid rookie season, starting all 17 games at right tackle.

“What he did last year demonstrated he’s a true pro,” Bidwill said. “He absolutely handled that thing masterfully as if he was a 10-year veteran general manager.”

Bidwill was flabbergasted at the moves Ossenfort made on draft night.

“The amounts of plates we had spinning while we were on the clock was just remarkable. I had never seen anything like it in my life and I’d seen a lot of trades go down throughout my lifetime.”

Cardinals owner Michael Bidwill assesses Jonathan Gannon after year No. 1

Despite the Cardinals going 4-13 in head coach Jonathan Gannon’s first season, the team’s effort was elevated from the 2022 season under Kliff Kingsbury.

Three of the Cardinals’ four wins were against the Dallas Cowboys, Philadelphia Eagles and Pittsburgh Steelers, all teams that made the playoffs. Arizona was 3-5 down the stretch after Kyler Murray returned from his ACL injury.

Bidwill praised Gannon’s ability to lead in year No. 1 on the job.

“I think he was already regarded as one of the bright defensive coaches in the National Football League,” Bidwill said. “What he did in terms of the step up to being head coach – I mean the key thing there is leadership. You just look at the way this team played … . They all believe in him. All 53 men believe in what coach Gannon is talking about and in the plan.

“They’ve bought in. His staff has bought in. He went with the younger staff. That was a question mark a year ago. … These guys really did a great job and everybody’s bought into what JG is leading us through and I’m just super impressed with him as well.”

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