For the second time in seven years, Bruce Arians may chase a retirement with an unretirement. The last time he retired, as offensive coordinator of the Steelers, he had no remaining contractual obligation. (And he didn’t really retire.) This time around, Arians retired with time left on his contract with the Cardinals.
Barely a week ago, the NFL reminded teams of the procedures that apply when a team interviews a coach who has retired or resigned with time left on his deal. Specifically, the new team must request permission from the old team. And, in theory, the old team could request compensation in exchange for said permission.
In Arians’ case, he retired after the 2017 season with one year left on his contract plus a team-held option for 2019.
Per a league source, that wasn’t enough to compel the Buccaneers to seek permission. Instead, the Bucs were required only to provide notification to the Cardinals. The source says that the Buccaneers worked directly with the league to determine the proper protocol, and the league concluded that the option year fell beyond the term of the contract.
The situation is nevertheless curious. Arians is looking to unretire at a time when the Cardinals are looking for a new coach, and Arians serves on the NFL’s Career Development Advisory Panel, which created the list of recommended coaching candidates.
Arians previously said he’d unretire only to coach the Browns. He also said he’d have no interest in coaching the Packers.