While Arizona Cardinals head coach Kliff Kingsbury signed a contract extension earlier in the year, could he still wind up on the hot seat?
It is true the Arizona Cardinals extended Kliff Kingsbury through 2027. But there are no guarantees he actually sticks around that long. Not a single season goes by where a coach loses their job years before their contract expires, and a less-than-stellar season in the desert may end up sending Kingsbury on that path.
Under Kingsbury, the Cardinals have improved each year. In 2019, they finished 5-10-1 before rounding out 2020 at 8-8. Last season, they clinched their first playoff berth of the Kingsbury Era after finishing 11-6. And while this may have warranted owner Michael Bidwill to sign the coach to an extension, there is also pressure on the fourth-year head coach.
The next logical step would be an NFC West Championship or at least a playoff win. And if Kingsbury falls short, there is a chance the seat will get warmer following 2022.
Arizona Cardinals owner Michael Bidwill could have second thoughts regarding Kliff Kingsbury’s extension if the Cardinals struggle in 2022.
While it would take an absolute debacle to see the Cardinals cut ties with Kingsbury, it isn’t so farfetched to believe his job security will be in doubt if he falls short of expectations in both 2022 and 2023. As it stands, the Cardinals are facing a plethora of injuries and it is up to Kingsbury to weather the brewing storm.
If he cannot, it may plant a seed of doubt in Bidwill’s mind that perhaps Kingsbury isn’t quite as worth the lucrative extension as he initially thought. Especially if the Cardinals regress significantly from 2021 to 2022 – such as ending the season 7-10 or worse.
Remember, Kingbsury would have zero playoff wins and zero division championships, plus an infamous step back. Regardless of the number of injuries the Cardinals may suffer, such regression would make Kingsbury’s seat hotter.
That said, there would be a real chance he is no longer around following the 2023 season if the Cardinals generate similar results, or even if they fall short of the playoffs. At which point, the coach would be zero for five in division championships and playoff wins. And in the NFL, few coaches last long in a job with those numbers.
Contract extension or not, Bidwill expects Kingsbury to succeed in 2022. It doesn’t matter how many injuries the team suffers, especially if quarterback Kyler Murray remains healthy. Murray, who signed an extension himself, will be counted on to elevate the talent of those around him. Ditto for the coach in Kliff Kingsbury.
Don’t let the extension fool you. If Kingsbury has a rough outing in 2022, look for a sense of urgency for the Arizona Cardinals head coach heading into 2023. And if 2023 ends the same way or worse than a mediocre 2022 campaign, odds are slim that he takes the sideline in 2024.
Article Source: Cardinals extend Kliff Kingsbury, Steve Keim through 2027 by Logan Reardon