Ian Cunningham has been a rising star in the NFL scouting ranks over the past few years. Many believe he is destined to run his own team not too long from now. It is a big reason why Ryan Poles sought him out to become the Chicago Bears’ first-ever assistant GM. While he knew Cunningham might not be around long, the benefits of having his expertise at Halas Hall were worth the trade. It appears the Bears dodged a major bullet this off-season when he did not secure any of the open GM spots.
However, it wasn’t due to a lack of interest. Cunningham was a widely-reported finalist for the Tennessee Titans job, recently vacated by Jon Robinson. He interviewed twice and was in the final two. Ultimately, the Titans opted for 49ers personnel director Ran Carthon instead. Most thought that was the end of it. Then Fox insider Jay Glazer dropped a minor bombshell. It appears Cunningham had another team in hot pursuit, and this one actually did offer him the job. He chose to decline it.
Ian Cunningham avoiding Arizona was a surprise, but also not really.
It is rare for somebody to decline the chance to run an NFL team. That takes a lot of guts because such opportunities don’t come around often. Cunningham must’ve had a good reason for saying no. Arizona is somewhat notorious for being a challenging environment to function in. Their owner Michael Bidwill is part of a family that doesn’t have the greatest reputation in league circles regarding properly running a franchise. Hiring and extending Kliff Kingsbury is his latest gaffe.
Subscribe to the BFR Podcast for analysis, insight, and discussion about Chicago Bears football.
There is also the fact Ian Cunningham would be shackled to quarterback Kyler Murray who just signed a lucrative contract extension. New GMs often prefer to have flexibility at the league’s most important position unless the guy is a future Hall of Famer. Murray is not. The team also has the second-oldest roster in the NFL and limited salary cap flexibility. Outside of holding the #3 overall pick, there isn’t much to work with. Cunningham clearly felt it was a better career decision in the long run for him to stay in Chicago.