Bears’ Ian Cunningham was Cardinals’ first choice for GM job before Arizona hired Monti Ossenfort


For the first time in nearly three decades, the Arizona Cardinals hired a general manager from outside their organization this week.

On Monday, Cardinals owner Michael Bidwill hired former Titans and Patriots personnel executive Monti Ossenfort to lead a new era of Cardinals football. But Ossenfort wasn’t the first choice for the job.

Bears assistant general manager Ian Cunningham was first offered the job, according to multiple sources. Fox Sports was the first to report the news.

Sources say Cunningham, who also was a finalist for the Titans GM job, declined the offer due to reasons related to his “fit” within the organization.

Longtime GM Steve Keim left the organization this offseason after taking a medical leave of absence beginning Dec. 14.

The Cardinals requested to interview at least nine candidates for their vacant GM job and ultimately interviewed seven men. They interviewed three internal candidates: VP of player personnel Quentin Harris, VP of pro personnel Adrian Wilson and director of football administration Matt Harriss. Externally they interviewed Ossenfort, Cunningham, former Giants GM Jerry Reese and Ravens director of player personnel Joe Hortiz.

“All these candidates had excellent backgrounds, impressive résumés and had a vision for the organization,” Bidwill said in a press conference Wednesday. “But as we went through the whole process, it became clear that Monti Ossenfort had the combination of a well-defined vision, a work ethic, character, the background and experience and being with two great organizations the New England Patriots as well as the Tennessee Titans in evolving roles and playing key roles in those…


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