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Todd Bowles, Cardinals strike extension through 2017

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Todd Bowles is having the best season of any coordinator in the NFL. We know it. You know it. The Arizona Cardinals certainly know it.

Now, the team is making sure Bowles knows how much it values his mastery.

The Cards and the defensive coordinator have agreed to extend his contract through 2017, NFL Media Insider Ian Rapoport reported, per a source informed of the deal. Pro Football Talk first reported the news.

The extension does not preclude Bowles from pursuing a head coaching job.

We expect Bowles to be one of the hottest coaching candidates on the market this offseason. However, the extension will allow him to be more choosey in his destination. Also, he has added security in the event that the Cards make a deep playoff run and teams don't want to wait until February to make a decision -- as we saw last season with Seattle, which had coaching candidates in the coordinator spots.

Per Rapoport, the extension makes Bowles one of the NFL's highest-paid coordinators. Previously, he was underpaid for his job performance and the Cards wanted to try and give him a reason to want to stick around past this season -- despite him likely receiving head coaching interest. The preemptive strike was the team's move, so leaving wasn't Bowles' only option to be properly compensated.

The Cardinals defense has suffered more losses than just about any team, from free agents who walked, to a season-long suspension to Daryl Washington, to an assortment of injuries. Still, Bowles' unit continues to ferociously get after the quarterback and stunt opponents' running games.

In June, coach Bruce Arians told NFL Media's Kimberly Jones that coaches would make up for the loss of players. Bowles has done that and more. And the Cardinals rewarded him for it.

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