After his name was connected to a few open jobs, Carolina Panthers defensive coordinator Steve Wilks will reportedly land the NFL’s final vacant head-coaching position.
On Monday morning Wilks was closing in on a deal to become the next coach of the Arizona Cardinals, according to Kent Somers of the Arizona Republic. Other outlets reported Wilks was expected to be named Cardinals head coach. Barring a last-minute issue, he will replace Bruce Arians, who announced his retirement on Jan 1. While some jobs are officially still open, reports have said teams have settled on their coaches and had to wait for the playoffs to end to make it official: Josh McDaniels to the Colts, Matt Patricia to the Lions and Pat Shurmur to the Giants.
Wilks spent the first part of his coaching career in college, spending one season as head coach of Savannah State. Wilks’ first NFL job was with the Chicago Bears in 2006, and he has held various defensive assistant positions in the NFL since then. He has been the Panthers’ assistant head coach for three seasons, and last year he replaced Sean McDermott as the team’s defensive coordinator. McDermott left to become the Buffalo Bills’ head coach.
The Cardinals job will be tricky. There’s enough talent that the Cardinals went 8-8 despite issues at quarterback after Carson Palmer’s injury and star running back David Johnson missing almost the entire season. However, Palmer retired and there’s no great replacement for him. It’s not ideal to begin your first NFL coaching job without a clear answer at quarterback.
There will be challenges for Wilks, who is 48 years old. However, that beats waiting another year and doing more rounds of interviews next offseason.
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