It seems day-by-day the path to Brian Flores remaining with the Pittsburgh Steelers in 2023 becomes more of a possibility. Sports Illustrated’s Albert Breer reported Sunday that the Arizona Cardinals are down to “two known finalists” in New York Giants offensive coordinator Mike Kafka and Cincinnati Bengals defensive coordinator Lou Anarumo. Each will meet with Arizona for a second interview next week, Kafka on Tuesday and Anarumo on Friday, seemingly eliminating Flores from contention for yet another head coaching job.
It’s worth noting the phrase “known finalists” does leave a bit of room for ambiguity, but it does appear the door is shut on Flores securing a head coaching job in 2023.
Naturally, if Arizona opts for Anarumo, that’s easily seen as a double victory for Pittsburgh, though it would open up a possible path for Flores to join the Steelers’ division rival instead.
In the realm of possibilities that still remain for Flores to find a coordinator position, the Minnesota Vikings and Denver Broncos play the largest role. Reportedly, the Denver Broncos are allowing defensive coordinator Ejiro Evero out of his contract to interview with the Vikings. Breer reports that wherever Evero lands, Flores would be the leading candidate for the opposing job. The most likely path, given the circumstances, will see Evero land in Minnesota opening the door for Flores to join recently acquired head coach Sean Payton in Denver.
Flores is reportedly scheduled to interview with the Broncos. The Broncos are the fifth team to express interest in Flores this offseason, who landed in Pittsburgh before the 2022 season as a senior defensive assistant that primarily worked with the inside linebackers. The Steelers saw its rush defense become a top-10 unit with Flores’ assistance. With uncertainties in who will be the team’s inside backers in 2023, his return would be greatly valued by the organization.
While Flores is certainly deserving of at the very least a defensive coordinator job, his standing lawsuit over the NFL still stands. Meanwhile, if the Steelers are to benefit from his hiring elsewhere in the form of a draft pick, he would have to remain on staff under Mike Tomlin in 2023.