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Monti Ossenfort’s Potential Influence on the Arizona Cardinals

Monti Ossenfort's Potential Influence on the Arizona Cardinals: Ossenfort plans to bring 'the Patriots way'. How will this work?
Monti Ossenfort Cardinals

The Arizona Cardinals recently appointed Monti Ossenfort as their new General Manager. The news comes after Steve Keim stepped down from his role and Kliff Kingsbury was fired. There were several good candidates for the role.

Ossenfort was previously the Director of Player Personnel for three years with the Tennessee Titans. Before that, his background in college scouting allowed him to take on an important role in the scouting departments of the Houston Texans and New England Patriots. It was with the Patriots that Ossenfort began to garner more attention and, by the time of his departure in 2019, he was Director of College Scouting and a large influence on the Patriots’ draft process.

The jury is still out on the hire. Many fans and commentators had not heard of Ossenfort before his appointment. Some have questioned why the Titans moved on from him if he is a good GM candidate. One response to this might be that the Titans felt that they needed to clean house. The same reason that the Cardinals did not appoint Quentin Harris or Adrian Wilson.

Around the league, Ossenfort seems to have a good reputation. A few have praised the appointment and many have just been impressed with owner Michael Bidwill’s conviction in hiring externally. This was something that the team had not done since 1994. He is just the third external appointment at GM in Cardinals history.

“He possesses every attribute of a successful GM — passion, leadership, intelligence, work ethic — and his extensive experience has clearly prepared him for this role,” said Bidwill on Ossenfort.

How Monti Ossenfort Will Build the Arizona Cardinals

Arizona’s New Philosophy

Ossenfort’s introductory press conference was a home run with the Arizona fanbase. Emphasizing team building, teamwork, and uniformity, it seems that Monti Ossenfort plans to bring the ‘Patriots spirit ‘ to the Cardinals.

Ossenfort and Bidwill also made a point of addressing accountability and ego. Of the many soundbites from his introduction, this was perhaps Ossenfort’s most viral. Bidwill said he consulted the leaders in the dressing room, including Kyler Murray, to ask what they wanted. The key word? Accountability.

Many have suggested that this is a direct reference to Murray. Murray, who received an extension in the off-season, has been heavily scrutinized this year. The contract standoff and study clause were at the start of a turbulent year for the young quarterback. His leadership has also been questioned. Despite this, players and pundits alike have suggested that Ossenfort’s quote is more of a general attitude than a specific comment on Murray.

Regardless, it is clear that Ossenfort seeks to bring a more rigorous culture to the Cardinals. One that parts from the laid-back style of Kingsbury. Discipline, humility and tenacity are what Ossenfort preaches for. Whether he will be able to act on this is another matter.

The Head Coach Search

Finding a head coach that aligns with Ossenfort’s philosophy is fundamental to enacting Ossenfort’s plans. One name that has recently shot to the top is Brian Flores. Flores worked with Ossenfort in New England and is currently the joint favorite to take the Cardinals job. His endorsement of the Patriots culture makes him an obvious choice.

Some have suggested that Sean Payton is out of the running, though it is unclear whether this is necessarily true. After all, Ossenfort and Payton are still loosely connected through the Bill Parcells executive and coaching tree. As it stands, Payton and Flores are the two favorites. However, the team will likely expand and deepen its search in the coming days.

The previous talk of Vance Joseph taking the role has since diminished. It is expected that Ossenfort will find his own head coach rather than hire from within.

Rebuilding the Roster

The 2023 Draft

Ossenfort have nothing away in his introductory conference. However, one thing has been ruled out: trading up. Ossenfort spoke only of selecting a premium player or trading down. This is not surprising, but worth noting.

In truth, Ossenfort comes from a footballing culture where trading up is a rarity. The Patriots tended to trade back and build draft capital. This is something the Cardinals could do if they get a good offer.

On the other hand, Ossenfort may want to play his first draft safe. It is highly likely that one of Will Anderson or Jalen Carter will be available at pick number three. Selecting one of those blue-chip prospects will undoubtedly be a hit with the fans and franchise alike.

Given Ossenfort’s philosophy, expect the Cardinals to look for high-character prospects. This was something that Keim emphasized in later rounds, with an emphasis on bringing in team captains. This, expect this tradition to continue.

Free Agency

The Patriots have always approached free agency a little differently than other teams. They do not like to overpay and would rather let go of players one year early than one year late. Ossenfort’s first test comes in the form of DeAndre Hopkins. The aging star receiver reportedly wants out, and it is rumored that the team is exploring trade options for him. Letting him go would be a risk, but would improve draft capital and cap space. Does Ossenfort trust the process enough to make such a big decision this early?

With the Titans, Ossenfort was responsible for creating a highly competitive and complete 90-man roster. His waiver wire pickups and UDFA signings have been key to filling out the back end of rosters. This will certainly be something that he will implement in Arizona.

The final thing to note is that the Patriots and Titans have never been big spenders in free agency (traditionally). The Cardinals, meanwhile, had been known to make splashy moves under Keim. This could change under the rule of Ossenfort.


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