Ian Cunningham Turned Down Cardinals GM Job to Stick with the Bears

We knew Ian Cunningham was going to be a hot name on the interview circuit this year. Cunningham arrived in Chicago last offseason as the assistant GM and was viewed as a fast-riser among front-office folks and a potential secret weapon for the Bears. And for what it’s worth, he had his hands in a bunch of Bears transactions this year. So it was no surprise that Cunningham took interviews with the Tennessee Titans and Arizona Cardinals earlier in the offseason.

However, it was eye-opening to see that Ryan Poles’ top lieutenant reportedly turned down one of the jobs he interviewed for earlier in January.

NFL on FOX insider Jay Glazer shares what he heard about Cunningham (1) getting an offer from the Cardinals but (2) ultimately turning it down and returning to the Bears:

I must admit it is hard not to feel great about that tweet from Glazer. In fact, I’m almost giddy to see it.

For starters, I find it noteworthy that the Arizona Cardinals thought highly enough of Ian Cunningham to offer him the job. To get consideration, multiple interviews, and an offer after just one year as the Bears’ assistant general manager suggests to me that Cunningham was an impressive candidate. But the good vibes are coming from that tweet because Cunningham chose to turn it down and stay in Chicago. Maybe that says something about the Cardinals’ situation. But I tend to think it says more about where the Bears’ arrow is pointing.

Think about it. Chicago’s football team possesses copious amounts of cap space, owns the first overall pick in the upcoming NFL Draft, and has Justin Fields playing the role of a franchise quarterback. Sure, there are a bunch of holes to fill. These Bears need a handful of new offensive linemen. And they could use a bunch of fresh faces on the defensive line, too. Receivers? Need ’em. Defenders? Gotta get some of those guys, too. The Bears’ offseason wish list looks like my to-do list before I host friends for weekend shenanigans. And yet, Cunningham wants to be along for the ride. I dig it.

Because if Poles and Cunningham can turn the Bears around, then Cunningham won’t have a shortage of teams vying to hire him. He’ll have his pick of the litter. And perhaps he’ll land in a better situation than the one he turned down in Arizona. Plus, the Bears could get some much-needed draft capital if Cunningham leaves for a GM gig next offseason. It is a potential win-win scenario for all parties.

written by

Luis C. Medina, who you can find on Twitter at lcm1986, has been covering the Chicago Bears at Bleacher Nation since 2017. Since then, he has written about 3 head coaches, 5 play-callers, and 11 starting quarterbacks. Previously, Luis wrote about the Cubs and MLB at BN (2015-16) and worked in the Chicago Tribune sports department (2011-16). He also co-hosted a Cubs postgame show, Outside the Ivy, in 2019.

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