Cards Sign Haley Through 2010

Bill Parcells was on the prowl and the Cardinals smelled him coming a mile away. Parcells was interested in luring offensive coordinator Todd Haley into the Miami Dolphins' vacant head coaching position, but the Cardinals interjected and locked Haley down with a contract extension through 2010.

Haley worked wonders in his first year with the Cardinals. His offense scored 404 points, the second-highest total in franchise history. He also produced just the fifth 1,200-yard rusher in team history and resurrected the career of Kurt Warner, who threw for more than 3,000 yards for the first time since he led the St. Louis Rams to the Super Bowl in 2001.

However, getting big numbers from Warner and Edgerrin James had been done before. It was Haley's ability to develop young players into difference-makers that made his first year in Arizona so successful.

Second-year tight end Leonard Pope scored five touchdowns after not catching any as a rookie. Jerheme Urban, who played under Haley with the Dallas Cowboys in 2006, had more receptions (22), yards (329) and touchdowns (2) than he did in his first four pro seasons combined.

It is this ability to develop young players that makes Haley attractive as a head coaching candidate. The Dolphins are in full-blown rebuilding mode and would have loved to have a coach of Haley's ilk overseeing the process.

Haley believes he has what it takes to succeed as a head coach in the NFL. He also believes his Cardinals are on the verge of breaking out and plans to enjoy the renaissance a little longer.

The financial details of Haley's new contract were not released, but Cardinals officials indicated that it places him in the upper-echelon of assistant coaches.

The Cardinals feel fortunate to have Haley's services secured for next season. The same cannot be said of assistant head coach Russ Grimm, who is rumored to be a candidate for the head coaching gig with the Washington Redskins.

Grimm was drafted by the Redskins in the third round of the 1981 draft. He spent 11 years there as a starting guard and key cog in the renowned "Hogs" offensive line.

The early indications are that the Redskins prefer to fill their vacancy in-house, but Grimm could still be brought in for an interview.

Michael Lombardo is a member of the Pro Football Writers of America and a long-time contributor to the network.

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