Cards agree to extensions with Whisenhunt, Graves

The Cardinals announced that coach Ken Whisenhunt and general manager Rod Graves signed extensions Thursday to remain with the team through 2013.

Whisenhunt's contract, which also has a team option for 2014, puts him among the five highest-paid coaches in the NFL, a league source told NFL Network insider Jason La Canfora, and averages over $5 million per season.

"It is exciting that they think enough of me as a coach to do this," he told The Associated Press by telephone on Thursday from the draft combine in Indianapolis, adding that it provides stability as he and his staff work to make the team a perennial playoff squad.

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"The important thing is we have a system in place that's produced pretty good results the last couple of years," Whisenhunt said.

Whisenhunt and Graves have led the franchise to new heights, reaching Super Bowl XLIII and winning a playoff game in 2009 before falling to the eventual champion Saints.

The Cardinals hired Whisenhunt, then offensive coordinator for the Pittsburgh Steelers, after firing Dennis Green following the 2006 season.

Before Whisenhunt arrived, Arizona had just one winning season since 1984, four years before the franchise moved from St. Louis, and one playoff victory since 1947.

He directed the franchise to its first consecutive division titles since 1975. The Cardinals are 13-5 against NFC West foes since Whisenhunt became coach.

"The outstanding work of these two individuals has been a vital part of the organization's accomplishments," Cardinals president Michael Bidwill said in a statement released by the team. "Rod and his staff have done an exceptional job in evaluating talent and building a roster that will produce sustained success. Obviously Ken Whisenhunt's achievements as a head coach speak for themselves."

Whisenhunt had a year left on the four-year contract he signed in January 2007. He has yet to have a losing regular season with Arizona, going 8-8 the first season, 9-7 in 2008 and 10-6 last year. The Cardinals are 4-2 in the playoffs under Whisenhunt.

"What the team has accomplished in his three seasons as head coach is a testament to the talent and hard work of Ken and his assistant coaches," Bidwill said.

Graves is entering his 14th season with the Cardinals and has been the GM since 2007. Of the 22 Cardinals starters at the end of the season, 13 were draft choices of the team during Graves' tenure with the organization.

Information from the Associated Press was included in this report.

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