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Cardinals extend Todd Bowles

The Cardinals signed defensive coordinator Todd Bowles to a three-year contract extension that ties him to Arizona through the 2017 season.

The team made no announcement, but Bowles confirmed reports of the extension at his weekly meeting with reporters Thursday.

The deal makes Bowles one of the five highest-paid assistant coaches in the NFL, according to a league source, and was hammered out in recent days by Cardinals president Michael Bidwill and general manager Steve Keim.

Bowles didn't reveal terms but said the Cardinals were "generous."

"It says a lot about [Cardinals president] Michael Bidwill, [general manager] Steve Keim and the Cardinals organization," Bowles said. "They're first class all the way and for what they did for me was very generous, very humbling for me. Again, it says a lot about them as an organization, him as an owner and Steve Keim as a general manager."

Now, when teams pursue Bowles for head-coaching opportunities, which is expected this winter, he will have the chance to be extremely selective about leaving Arizona.

"I've said all along that we got some tough games ahead, I can't even think about that kind of stuff right now, so my job hasn't changed and my focus hasn't changed," he said. "We're trying to beat the Lions, and we got the Seahawks, and we got a couple games ahead that are really tough to win. That's where my focus is."

Bowles has been the architect of one of the most creative and effective defenses in the league the past two years.

The Cardinals finished 2013 with the top-ranked run defense with a front seven that included linebackers Karlos Dansby and Daryl Washington, defensive tackle Darnell Dockett and outside linebacker John Abraham. By time the 2014 season started, Bowles was already working without all four because of injuries, suspensions and free agency.

Included were injuries during the season to defensive end Calais Campbell and outside linebacker Matt Shaughnessy, and at times this year, Bowles was working with a front seven that had just one starter -- nose tackle Dan Williams -- from a year ago.

But the defense has still flourished, becoming the league's top-ranked run defense in Week 8.

Arizona linebacker Larry Foote greeted the news of Bowles' extension as a strong reflection that team officials "value you and they respect the work that you're doing."

"I think he's got that unique quality," Foote said. "He cusses you out, then two minutes later he's hugging and joking with you. And players respect that. And that personality, an ex-player, he wants to win. He knows what it takes, and he understands about being a player in this league."

Bowles has developed a reputation for his penchant to blitz. The Cardinals are blitzing at a 41.1 percent clip this season -- fifth-highest in the NFL, according to ESPN Stats & Information. Arizona has a plus-12 turnover margin in 2014, and its point margin is plus-53.

Bowles' defense comes to life in the fourth quarter, recording a plus-11 turnover margin in the final quarter this year while helping the Cardinals to a plus-57 point margin -- thanks in part to three defensive touchdowns scored in the final 15 minutes of games this season.

Bowles' extension was earlier reported by ProFootballTalk.com.

ESPN.com Cardinals reporter Josh Weinfuss and The Associated Press contributed to this report.