Skip to main content

Notebook: Cardinals Coach Bruce Arians Reacts To Losing Tony Jefferson To Ravens


Here are some of the highlights from the NFC coaches breakfast at league meetings last week in Phoenix.

Bruce Arians Happy For Jefferson, 'Shocked' By Money

Cardinals Head Coach Bruce Arians certainly isn't one to hold his tongue.

When asked about his former safety Tony Jefferson leaving for Baltimore in free agency, Arians said he was "shocked by the money."

Jefferson got a four-year deal worth a reported $34 million, including $19 million guaranteed.

His $5.5 million base salary this season still only ranks No. 23 among safeties in the NFL, per Spotrac. By comparison, the Cardinals' other safety, Tyrann Mathieu, will come in at No. 5 next year at $8.1 million.

Mathieu, who has struggled with injuries during his four seasons, was graded as the NFL's 54th best safety last season by Pro Football Focus. Jefferson had the sixth-highest grade.

So Jefferson could turn out to be a bargain.

While Arians may have been surprised by the money, he was very happy to see the former undrafted Jefferson get the deal

"Great kid. Really happy for Tony," said Arians, who joined the Cardinals the same year as Jefferson in 2013. "He's a football player. He's not the flashiest guy, but he's a great tackler and he got so much better in his man-to-man skills. I'm really happy for him."

Arians said Jefferson is an ascending player, and other people who worked with Jefferson said he's the type of player that will work hard no matter how much money he's making because he loves the game.

"He got better and better every year he was here," Arians said.

Kyle Shanahan Was Nearly A Raven

Before he became the new head coach of the San Francisco 49ers, and before he jumpstarted the Atlanta Falcons offense that led to their Super Bowl LI appearance and made Matt Ryan the NFL MVP, Kyle Shanahan was nearly the Ravens' offensive coordinator.

In 2014, Shanahan's four-year stint as the offensive coordinator of the Washington Redskins ended when his father, Mike Shanahan, was fired.

Head Coach John Harbaugh interviewed the younger Shanahan for the Ravens' offensive coordinator vacancy in 2014, and he was reportedly a finalist.

That's until Gary Kubiak became available, and Baltimore hired him. Kyle then accepted a one-year gig as the offensive coordinator with the Cleveland Browns.

The following offseason, Kubiak was in negotiations to go to Denver to reunite with good friend John Elway as the Broncos' new head coach. That's when Shanahan popped up again, and there was again interest from Baltimore, but the timing was off.

Shanahan ended up going to Atlanta and the Ravens hired Marc Trestman to continue running the West Coast system that Kubiak successfully installed in Baltimore.

So, how close did Shanahan come to wearing purple and black?

"There were a couple opportunities that were close," Shanahan said at league meetings. "Especially when I left Washington, I did interview for that job out there. But you'd have to ask them how close I was."

A reporter told Shanahan that he thought he was pretty close.

"Yeah, I did too," Shanahan replied with a smile. "It was great to go out there. That was the first time I met Coach Harbaugh, and he's a great person. It's a great organization. It's obvious why they've been so successful over the years."

Sean McVay vs. John Harbaugh In The 40-Yard Dash

Harbaugh now has another RedHawk among the NFL head coaching ranks.

The Los Angeles Rams' Sean McVay, the youngest head coach in modern NFL history, graduated from Miami (Ohio) in 2008. Harbaugh graduated in 1984.

Well, that didn't stop Harbaugh from talking a little smack to the youngin' at league meetings.

Harbaugh and McVay bumped into each other while checking in at the Arizona Biltmore, and they chatted about one of the questions many head coaches were asked at the combine.

If NFL coaches ran a 40-yard dash, who would win?

McVay was one of the most popular picks given that he's just 31 years old and played wide receiver in college (39 career receptions for 312 yards and zero touchdowns). Harbaugh challenged the vote.

"He goes, 'Yeah, I think I would take him! He was a possession receiver at Miami and I was a corner, so I'd take him,'" McVay said with a laugh.

"He's a good guy. I've always had a respect for him watching him from afar, and I'll definitely reach out to him moving forward."

Jim Caldwell Explains Why He Stole Rick Wagner

Former Ravens Offensive Coordinator Jim Caldwell has left his old team with a hole at right tackle after he and the Detroit Lions inked Rick Wagner to a five-year deal worth a reported $47.5 million.

So why did he have to go and steal his former employer's player?

"We needed one at that particular point in time and he's a very, very good player, obviously, as you well know," Caldwell said. "He's the right kind of guy as well."

Wagner came to the Ravens as a fifth-round pick in 2013. He and Caldwell only had one year together in Baltimore, though Wagner wasn't a starter as a rookie. Still, Caldwell said their brief experience working with one another helped the Lions pull the trigger on the deal.

"It's always good to at least have an understanding of what a guy's personality is like," Caldwell said. "You can certainly get playing style and playing capabilities on film. I'm not saying it was a huge contributing factor, but it helps."

This article has been reproduced in a new format and may be missing content or contain faulty links. Please use the Contact Us link in our site footer to report an issue.

Related Content