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NFL Fans Mock Cardinals for Firing Kliff Kingsbury 10 Months After Contract Extension

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured Columnist IVJanuary 9, 2023

SANTA CLARA, CALIFORNIA - JANUARY 08: Head coach Kliff Kingsbury of the Arizona Cardinals looks on during the first half against the San Francisco 49ers at Levi's Stadium on January 08, 2023 in Santa Clara, California. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

Kliff Kingbsury's time in Arizona has come to a close.

The Cardinals announced on Monday that Kingsbury was fired and general manager Steve Keim made the decision to step down from his post:

Arizona Cardinals @AZCardinals

<a href="https://t.co/kmFtYdQd4n">pic.twitter.com/kmFtYdQd4n</a>

Kingsbury, 43, was 28-37-1 in his four years as the team's head coach, leading Arizona to the playoffs last season. In each of his first three seasons the Cardinals improved their record, at least until 2022's disastrous 4-13 campaign.

JosinaAnderson @JosinaAnderson

I'm told when Kliff Kingsbury met with the staff to inform them of the news he had a "surprised and distraught" demeanor on his face, per league source. Subsequently staff were told "some of them may be retained."

Tom Pelissero @TomPelissero

<a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Cardinals?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#Cardinals</a> owner Michael Bidwill has been evaluating potential head coaching candidates and figuring out the process for weeks. All signs had been pointing towards a change in Arizona, where Kliff Kingsbury was informed today he's out, and is owed a lot of money through 2027.

There were factors outside of Kingsbury's control, including a rash of injuries across the roster that culminated with Kyler Murray's torn ACL. But Monday's news doesn't come as a major surprise—there had been buzz throughout the season that discontent was stirring in Arizona.

The timing of Kinbsbury's firing couldn't be much worse from a financial standpoint, however, as he was in the first year of an extension paying him through the 2027 season. The Cardinals are on the hook for that money, and Twitter had a field day roasting them for it (and for hiring him in the first place):

Gary Sheffield Jr. @GarysheffieldJr

Kliff Kingsbury signing an extension til 2027 and then being fired to be an unemployed millionaire in Scottsdale, AZ <a href="https://t.co/dpllzs0VAL">pic.twitter.com/dpllzs0VAL</a>

Kyle Odegard @Kyle_Odegard

Michael Bidwill cost himself millions of dollars by doling out the Keim and Kingsbury extensions, but at least it didn't keep him from making these much-needed moves.

Robert Griffin III @RGIII

Kliff Kingsbury just got fired after a Tumultuous year in Arizona. He got the job because of his relationship with Kyler Murray and helped the team year over year improve until this season. Not a smart move to sign him to an extension through 2027 ten months ago then fire him.

Jett Beachum @JetthroTV

Kliff Kingsbury knowing he signed a 5-year contract extension less than a year ago <a href="https://t.co/WfdwzuiyGX">https://t.co/WfdwzuiyGX</a> <a href="https://t.co/xYW4lah86r">pic.twitter.com/xYW4lah86r</a>

Ross Tucker @RossTuckerNFL

If you're going to get fired the best time for it to this 1 year into an extension that goes thru 2027. 😂🤑🤑🤑

PropSwap @PropSwap

Kliff Kingsbury after getting fired with $20 million still owed on his contract <a href="https://t.co/PLw8sMud5O">pic.twitter.com/PLw8sMud5O</a>

BioFreez (13-3) 🟥⬜️ @McDuffieSZN

The Arizona Cardinals are in a Top 5 list for "most dysfunctional NFL organizations" for ever thinking Kliff Kingsbury deserved a contract extension

Bob Fescoe @bobfescoe

Kliff Kingsbury is getting head coach money for the next 5 years. He wins!

Curt Konrad @CurtKonrad

Best gig ever. Now he gets to collect an additional $20M+ for doing absolutely nothing.

Michael David Smith @MichaelDavSmith

Kliff Kingsbury was fired as head coach at Texas Tech, got no head-coaching interest so he agreed to be USC's offensive coordinator, then the Cardinals hired him as head coach despite no NFL coaching experience. You'll never believe what happened next.

There will be major questions about what comes next in Arizona. The Cardinals are currently married to Murray after he signed a five-year, $230.5 million extension over the summer, with $160 million in guarantees.

That means one of things:

  1. At least in the short term, the next head coach will need to be comfortable with Murray as his quarterback.
  2. The Cardinals will shop Murray this offseason and will consider either using the No. 3 pick on the position, or perhaps look to trade ahead of the Houston Texans to get the top overall pick. 

In other words, the Cardinals are heading into a fascinating offseason. All while they'll still be paying Kingsbury.