Report: Kliff Kingsbury Contract Extension a 'Priority' for Cardinals After OU Rumors

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured Columnist IVDecember 5, 2021

Arizona Cardinals head coach Kliff Kingsbury during pre-game at an NFL football game against the Seattle Seahawks, Sunday, Nov. 21, 2021, in Seattle. The Cardinals won 23-13. (AP Photo/Ben VanHouten)
AP Photo/Ben VanHouten

The 9-2 Arizona Cardinals have the best record in the NFL, and they reportedly have no interest in seeing head coach Kliff Kingsbury elsewhere with just one year remaining on his contract after the 2021 campaign.

Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports reported Sunday that "a long-term extension is a significant offseason priority for the Cardinals, and the coach's leverage has clearly never been higher."

Perhaps that leverage comes in part because ESPN's Adam Schefter reported Nov. 28 that Oklahoma "targeted" Kingsbury in its search for a head coach after the departure of Lincoln Riley to USC. Still, La Canfora noted "there was no serious dialogue between" the two sides.

It was certainly a surprising development when the Oklahoma position became available considering Riley helped lead the Sooners to the College Football Playoff three times and had a 55-10 record during his tenure.

However, he created a vacancy at one of the country's elite programs.

Kingsbury has Big 12 connections from his time as a player and head coach for Texas Tech, although he was just 35-40 as the coach from 2013 through 2018. Oklahoma is also set to join the SEC in 2025.

The Cardinals head coach is also in one of the most favorable positions in the NFL since Kyler Murray is the team's franchise quarterback at just 24 years old and seems primed to compete for MVPs and NFC West crowns for seasons to come.

Arizona is also trending in the right direction under Kingsbury considering it was just 5-10-1 in his first season in 2019, 8-8 last year and now 9-2 through its first 11 games this season.

His background as an offensive coach at the collegiate level is well-suited for Murray's game, as the quarterback can hurt opposing defenses with his legs and his arm as a dual-threat playmaker.

Keeping the quarterback and coach together and continuing to build on their progress seems like the fastest way to a Lombardi Trophy for the Cardinals, and they are apparently going to make an effort to do just that during the offseason.