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Arizona Cardinals Vice President of Pro Personnel Adrian Wilson is reportedly the strongest candidate to become the Jacksonville Jaguars' next general manager.
That's in addition to his former Cardinals colleague and Tampa Bay Buccaneers offensive coordinator Byron Leftwich, who is nearing the Jaguars' head coach position.
Longtime Cardinals reporter and their Digital Content Coordinator Mike Jurecki tweeted Thursday the Jaguars are "close" to hiring the Cardinals Ring of Honor-inductee and Leftwich.
Hearing the Jaguars are close to hiring Adrian Wilson as their GM and Byron Leftwich as HC.
— Mike Jurecki (@mikejurecki) January 27, 2022
This is seemingly shaping as a package deal for the Jaguars.
Pro Football Talk reported that Leftwich wants to bring in Wilson and move out their current GM Trent Baalke, who was promoted from an interim basis in 2020 to permanent last year.
After Wilson played 12 NFL seasons in Arizona and 15 total until he retired in 2015, he and Leftwich were Cardinals colleagues from 2017 to 2018.
Leftwich was the Cardinals' quarterbacks coach and interim offensive coordinator during those years, respectively, before he was hired for his current position with the Bucs in 2019.
Wilson moved up the ladder from as a regional scout in 2015 to Director of Pro Scouting in 2019 to his current post last year.
If Leftwich and Wilson officially get hired by Jacksonville, they would be part of the NFL's questionable progression for its diversity initiatives to hire more minority executives and head coaches.
Wilson would become the third Black GM to be hired this week, in addition to Ryan Poles by the Chicago Bears and the Minnesota Vikings giving the nod to Kwesi Adofo-Mensah. Those were among the four GM vacancies — and a potential fifth adding Jacksonville — besides the Las Vegas Raiders and New York Giants, which hired Joe Schoen last Friday.
As the league entered the 2021 hiring cycle, it had two Black GMs: Miami Dolphins' Chris Grier and Cleveland Browns' Andrew Berry. Three more Black GMs (Washington's Martin Mayhew, Detroit Lions' Brad Holmes, and Atlanta Falcons' Terry Fontenot) were hired out of the seven openings during that cycle. That's in comparison to just three Black candidates interviewed for those jobs the year prior.
The league's sole Black coach is Pittsburgh's Mike Tomlin after the Dolphins fired Brian Flores on Jan. 10, and the Houston Texans fired David Culley after one season three days later.
Check back for updates on this developing story.
— Cardinals defensive coordinator Vance Joseph was not among the names of expected second-round interviewees for the Dolphins head coach job, per NFL Network's Ian Rapoport on Thursday. Rapoport said Dallas Cowboys OC Kellen Moore, San Francisco 49ers OC Mike McDaniel, and Buffalo Bills OC Brian Daboll are expected to return for the Dolphins' second round. Joseph interviewed for the position on Jan. 21.
— The Cardinals have signed former Syracuse punter Nolan Cooney to a "futures" contract. Cooney signed with the New Orleans Saints last May, but never made the active roster. The signing comes as their punter Andy Lee will enter free agency as of March 16 after his one-year deal expires.
— Cardinals announced their annual team Player of the Year awards honorees for the 2021 on Thursday: Kyler Murray won Most Valuable Cardinal; James Conner earned both Offensive POY and Newcomer of the Year; Budda Baker received Defensive POY; center Rodney Hudson got Beyond The Box Score POY; Jonathan Ward got Play of the Year for his memorable fake-punt play coach in their road win at Dallas.
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This article originally appeared on Arizona Republic: Jacksonville Jaguars 'close' to hiring Adrian Wilson as GM